As mentioned in prior guidance, New York City has activated the Unified Victim Identification System (UVIS) to manage and coordinate all activities related to patient reunification and identification. UVIS enables individuals seeking loved ones who are believed to be in New York City to call 311, which initiates a process to attempt to locate that individual. All New York City hospitals have been asked to complete a survey at the request of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) to designate a single phone number – to be staffed 24/7 – that can serve as the point of contact for UVIS-related calls from the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

Given the complexity and sensitive nature of UVIS, GNYHA is hosting an informational call for hospitals on Monday, April 13, from 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Key staff from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM), NYPD, and OCME will describe key aspects of the program. Attendees will also have the chance to ask questions. Call details can be found below:

Date: Monday, April 13, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Call-In: 888-609-1607; 14600831#

Public Announcement of UVIS Activation

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to make a public announcement on Tuesday, April 14, at approximately 8:00 a.m. to notify the public that UVIS has been activated. The announcement will include the following:

“The Unified Victim Identification System has been activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People seeking information about missing individuals can call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside of the City). This system is only for those seeking information about individuals in New York City who are missing. This is not meant for callers to inquire about individuals that are known to be in a specific hospital or under hospital care in a known facility.”

How the UVIS Process Will Work

When an individual calls 311 seeking information on a missing loved one, the 311 operator will capture information about the missing person including last known location, name, age, gender, and any identifying characteristics, which will be entered into a single UVIS database. DOHMH will then utilize the NYC Emergency Patient Search Portal (NYCEPS) to search the regional health information exchanges (Qualified Entities) and participating hospitals’ Admission/Discharge/Transfer (ADT) data to determine if there is a potential match at an area health care facility or an alternate care site such as the Javits New York Medical Station. A search will also be conducted of the NYCEM hoteling program. If a potential match is found, the information will be referred to the NYPD Missing Persons Team, which will contact the facility housing the individual to understand the individual’s status and determine if a reunification can be made with the family. If the individual is deceased, information about the caller will be provided to the hospital so that a notification can be made. Hospital staff are also encouraged to review this detailed workflow.