A Prescription for Disaster Management

With new legislation possibly entering affect regarding emergency preparedness for health institutions participating in Medicare or Medicaid, many facilities may soon find themselves needing to develop plans for operation under crisis conditions, according to an op/ed piece in The New York Times. Expected to affect over 68,000 providers, from hospitals to psychiatric facilities to home health agencies, these rules are anticipated to require health care providers to:

  • Conduct regular disaster drills,
  • Create plans for maintaining services during power failures, and
  • Ensure systems are in place to track and care for patients displaced by disaster

Planning began under the Bush administration, with a public draft of the rules first becoming available in 2013. Finalization of these rules is still underway.

Intended to protect again events like those that followed Hurricane Katrina, in which more than 200 people died in Louisiana hospitals and nursing homes, and Hurricane Sandy, in which 6,400 patients were evacuated from New York City, occasionally without the associated patient records, these new rules have the potential to profoundly change industry standards and policies, says The New York Times.