The Center for Disaster Medicine (CDM) at New York Medical College is launching Principles and Application of Mass Casualty Triage for Hospital-based Providers, a first-of-its-kind course. The development of the course resulted from a February 2018 fact-finding delegation visit to Las Vegas, coordinated by the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) at the request of its Board of Governors. The delegation included representatives from several New York State health systems and government response partners, with the objective of learning about Las Vegas’ response to the October 1, 2017, mass shooting that injured hundreds and caused 58 deaths. The delegation visit underscored the vulnerabilities hospitals face when confronted with a surge of critical patients that can quickly overwhelm available resources. Preparation for such incidents requires significant training and planning by emergency department (ED) staff to be able to effectively recognize and respond to these low probability/high impact events. Also, robust interdepartmental coordination is vital to ensuring that critical supplies and personnel are available.

In early 2018, GNYHA approached the CDM about developing a course to improve hospital preparedness for such events. The CDM is an Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) Center of Excellence.  During 2018, GNYHA and the CDM worked collaboratively to pilot the course at five sites: Albany Medical Center, Elmhurst Hospital, Lincoln Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, and St. John’s Riverside Hospital. CDM used extensive feedback from pilot participants to further refine the course.

Course Description

This eight-hour course is designed to refresh and improve the knowledge and skills of the ED and hospital-based clinicians who would be responsible for the initial triage and care of victims from mass casualty events. Through lecture presentations based on the latest evidence and reports, group discussions, integration of the facility’s emergency management plan, and several hands-on exercises and learning stations, participants will learn about the most effective and evidence-supported ED and hospital triage methods, initial interventions, and patient flow approaches for mass casualty events.

Participants will also identify ways to improve the preparedness of their hospitals for these types of incidents. While mass casualty events are the primary focus, the course will also help to improve clinicians’ and facilities’ preparedness for other types of disasters and public health emergencies. The CDM will work extensively with key facility contacts so that lecture content and hands-on exercises can be tailored to the host institution or system’s existing emergency operations plans. Through pre- and post-meetings, individuals critical to a mass casualty response will have the opportunity to collaboratively reflect on and consider changes to institutional response plans. The CDM has accredited this course for continuing medical education for participants. Additionally, the afternoon hands-on exercises can be applied to meet The Joint Commission’s exercise standards and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ testing requirements.

Course Cost

The eight-hour course costs $6,000 for up to 30 people, with supplemental modules available at additional cost. GNYHA notes that New York State’s initial funding of the development of the program and GNYHA’s assistance in developing and piloting the course have enabled the CDM to offer the program at a reduced rate. In addition, for hospitals located in New York City that hold a Healthcare Preparedness Program-funded contract with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, funding associated with the contract training deliverable may be used toward this course, if the course content relates to stated training goals. The CDM has also applied to the New York State Department of Health to have the course added to the pre-approved training list for Hospital Preparedness Program participants. A determination will be made soon.

For more information about the course, please review the attached Hospital/Health System Overview.