Click the read more button to find out this week’s information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (ASPR TRACIE), Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), and other miscellaneous sources.
We would like to thank everyone who attended our daily coalition conference calls, and a special thank you to those who provided information during them in preparation and response to Hurricane Florence. Also, thank you to those healthcare staff that posted information using the Virginia Healthcare Alerting and Status System (VHASS). Your information allowed the regional healthcare and public health staff to provide a common operating picture through the development of the daily Situational Reports (SITREP)s. It is times like this that we all understand the need to prepare for disasters and come together to ensure the safety and welfare of the patients, residents, staff, and visitors. We look forward to the continued collaboration with each of you.
Wow! Our website has reached over 1,400 viewers. Let’s keep it going by informing anyone who has an interest in the Regional Coalition and the information we provide.
To access our website click here. Don’t forget to visit the Events calendar. There you will find training and education opportunities.
We have developed a one page understanding of the regional coalition that can be shared between coalition partners. To view the regional “one-pager” please click here.
1. Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Proposed Regulatory Provisions to Promote program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is opening a comment period of 60 days for several actions that can be found here. There are recommended changes as shown below specifically related to emergency preparedness. When you click on link, it will take you to the CMS.gov Newsroom. At the bottom of the web page, you find another link to the actual Portable Document File (pdf) document from the federal register, or you can click here. These changes are NOT approved at this time and should not be used as a guide for emergency preparedness.
We continually assess our Emergency Preparedness policies to ensure that facilities maintain access to services during emergencies, provide safety for patients, safeguard human resources, maintain business continuity and protect physical resources. This proposed rule will continue to ensure that these expectation are met. At the same time we are proposing to reduce the complexity of the requirements to ensure that providers are spending more time and resources on actual patient care.
- Emergency program: Give facilities the flexibility to review their emergency program every two years, or more often at their own discretion, in order to best address their individual needs. A comprehensive review of the program can involve an extensive process that may not yield significant change over the course of one year. Facilities may review the plan more frequently should significant changes become necessary as determined by the individual needs of the facility. The combination of all Emergency Preparedness requirements (policies and procedures, testing, communication plan) will continue to hold facilities accountable for their outcomes while allowing them more time to focus on their unique needs and specific circumstances
- Emergency plan: Eliminating the duplicative requirement that the emergency plan include documentation of efforts to contact local, tribal, regional, State and federal emergency preparedness officials and a facility’s participation in collaborative and cooperative planning efforts. This information is already contained in other regulations requiring that these activities occur.
- Training: Give facilities greater discretion in revising training requirements to allow training to occur annually or more often at their own discretion. Overly restrictive training requirements can have unintended consequences in preventing facilities from focusing their training efforts on what makes sense in unique circumstances.
- Testing (for inpatient providers/suppliers): Increasing the flexibility for the testing requirement so that one of the two annually-required testing exercises may be an exercise of the facility’s choice. While two annual tests are still required, flexibility is provided so that one of those training sessions can be done through various innovative methods such as simulations, desk top exercises, workshops or other methods that may best meet the needs of the facility and the patients that they serve. The second training must continue to be a full scale community exercise.
- Testing (for outpatient providers/suppliers): Revising the requirement for facilities to conduct two testing exercises to one testing exercise annually. Additional testing will be at the facilities’ discretion based on unique needs. This will allow facilities to modernize their testing to use innovative methods such as desktop drills and simulations.
2. CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule Frequently Asked Questions
The Center for Medicare Services (CMS) has posted five rounds of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to the Final Rule on Emergency Preparedness. Two previously posted rounds (two and three) were revised June 1, 2017.
Healthcare and Public Health Sector Highlights Monthly Infectious Disease Update
- Update on quarantined United Emirates flight at JFK
- CDC: Rates of three STDs reach record high in U.S.
- Global Health Security updates on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- WHO disease outbreak news
- First ever case of monkeypox recorded in U.K.
- Updates on cases of African Swine Fever in China
VDEM Offers Instructions and Tips for Donating to Help With Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts
Visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/get-involved/ to learn the best ways to get involved (and what not to do).
RICHMOND—Many Virginians witnessing the devastation from Hurricane Florence through the media will be compelled to get involved or to donate to assist in relief efforts in the Carolinas. It is important to know the best ways to get involved without risking your own economic or personal safety, and without causing additional burden to those areas receiving unsolicited aid. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) offers these tips on how to donate or volunteer right, and what not to do.
TO DONATE TO RELIEF EFFORTS
- The most effective way to support communities impacted by these storms is to donate money and time to trusted, reputable non-profit charitable organizations.
- Cash donations offer non-profit agencies flexibility to address urgent needs. These organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location, not only getting needed supplies to those rebuilding after the storm, but also providing economic aid that helps local businesses from which these emergency supplies are purchased to recover faster.
- Do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs. When used personal items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
- Donate through a trusted organization. At the national level, many voluntary-, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters and are trusted conduits through which you can donate to disaster survivors. Individuals, corporations and volunteers can learn more about how to help on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website.
CASH IS THE FASTEST WAY TO ASSIST DISASTER SURVIVORS
Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources. Many charities specialize in providing relief in disaster areas, yet they face significant financial barriers to getting their staff, equipment, and supplies into impacted areas.
Your donation helps put experienced disaster responders on the ground, and gives them the tools they need to help survivors recover. Organizations typically prefer cash donations because they allow organizations to:
- Purchase food, water, medicine, and equipment from secure and familiar supply chains
- Buy materials locally – which can help rebuild the local economy
- Conserve resources – money is always necessary and cheap to send, but the cost to ship material supplies can be expensive.
- Remember, material supplies such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable food require helping agencies to redirect volunteer labor away from providing direct one-on-one assistance to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
DONATE THROUGH A TRUSTED ORGANIZATION
At the national level, many voluntary, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors.
If you’d like to donate to assist those affected by disaster, these organizations are the best place to start.
NATIONAL VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVE IN DISASTER (VOAD)
VA VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS ACTIVE IN DISASTER
VIRGINIA DISASTER RELIEF FUND
TO VOLUNTEER IN THE DISASTER AREAS
Volunteers should not self-deploy. Unexpected volunteers showing up in impacted areas will create an additional burden for first responders. NVOAD says the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zones and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.
- Potential volunteers are asked to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already deployed and supporting survivors on the ground. The NVOAD website is offering links to those who wish to register to volunteer with community- and faith-based organizations working in the field.
- To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear and valid identification.
- Volunteer generosity helps impacted communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters, but recovery won’t happen overnight. There will be volunteer needs for many months, and years, after the disaster, so sign up now.
DO NOT SELF DEPLOY
Seeing images of disaster may compel you to head to the impacted area. Don’t underestimate the complexity of working in a disaster area. Until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support, volunteers should not enter.
- Be sure to affiliate with existing voluntary organization before coming to the disaster area, and that organization has been asked to respond.
- Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and opportunities have been identified.
- Once assigned a position, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety gear for the task.
Be patient. Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster – especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.
AFFILIATE WITH EXISTING NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS BEFORE GOING TO A DISASTER AREA
Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained and supported to respond in the most effective way.
The impulse to help when others who are suffering is commendable. However, volunteering inside a disaster area can be dangerous, stressful work in extreme environments.
If you’d like to volunteer to assist those affected by disaster, these organizations have specific disaster roles and are the best place to start.
VDEM works with local government, state and federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise through the five mission areas of emergency management; prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. To learn more about ways VDEM is working to improve disaster preparedness, response and recovery, visit www.vaemergency.gov.
Memorandum of Understanding
We are pleased to announce that the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition has begun receiving requests to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the coalition and non-hospital facilities. The MOU is designed for healthcare facilities that are not classified as an Acute Care or Critical Access hospital, and it is good for five (5) years before it will need to be renewed. If your your organizations resides with the Northwest Region and has not signed the MOU, you can contact either the Regional Coordinator or the Medically Vulnerable Populations Coordinator to find out more details. We are expanding our outreach to healthcare agencies within the region as a way of offering assistance to you and your organization. We ask for everyone’s help to spread the word by talking with your colleagues about the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition. You can contact us by clicking the Contact Us tab on our website.