December 31, 2018 – January 6, 2019

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.

Next Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition Monthly Meeting

The next regional coalition meeting is Thursday January 10th at 10:30 am and this is our quarterly in-person meeting.
We will meet at Harrisonburg Rescue Squad, 1700 Reservoir St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.

Our normal meeting location, the Rockingham County Fire and Rescue Training rooms, is no longer available because the rooms are being converted to office space. 


Wow! Our website has reached over 1,800 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 as we add several training events without announcing them in the weekly updates.

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.

 Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association

Virginia Department of Health

1. Virginia Department of Health Weekly Influenza Activity Report

To view the weekly report, click here. This link will be provided each week until we are no longer in flu season for the 2018-2019 reporting period. To view the map of the US for the influenza summary, click here.

2. 2019 Public Health and Healthcare Preparedness Academy

The 2019 Public Health and Healthcare Preparedness Academy will be held on March 19-21,2019 at the Founders Inn in Virginia Beach. The theme this year for the Academy is Responding to 21st Century Emerging Threats.

The Northwest Region will reimburse attendees who are employed by the partners located within the region. For additional information, please contact Matt Cronin, Exercise and Training Specialist, Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition.

The Founders Inn has started accepting reservations for rooms. The link to book a room can be found hereYou may also call 757-366-5700 to book reservations under this group. The Founders Inn and Spa is officially a Hilton Hotel! Our new name is The Founders Inn and Spa, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. If you are Hilton Honors members you can use your Hilton Honors Points to stay at the hotel. If you are not a member, you can join here.
Group Name: Virginia Public Health and Healthcare Preparedness Academy
Arrival Date: 18-Mar-2019
Departure Date: 22-Mar-2019
Group code:  VPH

Examples of 21st Century Threats Include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Wildfires
  • Environmental impacts of fracked gas pipelines
  • Civil unrest/terrorism
  • Gun violence
  • Opioid epidemic
  • Emerging biological threats
  • Cybersecurity threats
  • Increasing stress on the social determinants of health (economic insecurity, etc)

 Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response


Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resource,                                                                                                                             Assistance Center, and Information Exchange

Hospital Preparedness Program




Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Credit: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


         U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Federal Emergency Management Agency

National Engagement Period: National Qualification System (NQS) Supplemental Guidance

FEMA’s National Integration Center is seeking public feedback on several National Qualification System (NQS) documents that enhance interoperability and the effectiveness of mutual aid. This National Engagement Period will conclude at 5:00 p.m. EST on January 24, 2019. The National Engagement Period provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on newly developed supplemental guidance. Today’s release includes:

NIMS NQS Supplemental Guide for Coaches and Evaluators that provides processes, procedures, and tools to assist authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) develop and maintain coaching and evaluating programs as part of the larger qualification process; and

NIMS NQS Supplemental Guide for QRBs that provide basic processes and procedures to assist AHJs develop and maintain a QRB as part of the larger certification process.

To support partner and stakeholder adoption, FEMA is hosting a series of 60-minute webinars to discuss the NQS supporting tools and answer questions. All webinars are open to the whole community, including individuals and communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all governments. The schedule is below. All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Webinar 1: Occurred before typing the weekly updates

Webinar 2: Monday January 7, 2019, 3:00pm-4:00pm

Webinar 3: Tuesday January 15, 2019, 10:00am-11:00am

Webinar 4: Thursday January 17, 2019, 5:00pm-6:00pm

Webinar 5: Tuesday January 22, 2019, 3:00pm-4:00pm

Webinar participants will have an opportunity to provide feedback to NIMS representatives during the webinars. After a short presentation, the NIC representatives will answer any technical questions participants may have.

To review the documents and for additional webinar information, visit:

To provide comments on the draft, complete the feedback form on the webpage listed above and submit the form to   

Thank you for your input and continued support. Together, we make our nation more secure and resilient.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management

1. ICS 300 Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents

Dates:             January 9-10, 2019
Time:             8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Location:       Madison Fire Station, 1223 North Main ST, Madison, VA 22727

Description: This 18-hour classroom course is designed for front-line personnel with supervisory responsibilities to serve in a command or general staff position. The three-day curriculum includes instruction in general principles associated with incident command, along with various tabletop exercises that allow students to put this knowledge to practical use.

Prerequisites: Applicants must document completion of all of the following prerequisites to be considered for enrollment. Successful completion of accredited versions of: (Required) IS 100 and IS 200 – (recommended) IS 700 and IS 800.

Please email certificates to:

Tamara Del Rosario
Academic Support Technician
Phone: 804-897-9676

Registration:  Registration is OPEN and will remain open until January 4, 2019.  To register, log-in to the Commonwealth of Virginia Learn Center: When searching for this course in the VLC, use this keyword:  ICS 300.  Be sure to select the ICS 300 (11) option from the list.  If you need assistance, please contact the Help Desk at 804-897-9995.

2. L0101 Foundations of Emergency Management

Applications are now being accepted for the upcoming L0101 Foundations of Emergency Management course. This two-week course is the first of five in the EM Basic Academy program. This course is highly recommended for new as well as experienced members of the emergency management community as it provides a comprehensive view of the profession’s core functions, policies, and goals. To this end, this course is required for all VDEM staff. Click here for more information and the application packet. 

Dates: Week 1: February 4-8, 2019

Location: McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center, 4890 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA  22030

Dates: Week 2: March 4-8, 2019

Location: Virginia Department of Emergency Management, 10501 Trade Court, N. Chesterfield, VA 23236

Please submit your completed application by November 16th.  If you have questions, please contact Candice Crockett.

Candice Crockett
Interim Academic Support Coordinator
Training, Education and Exercise Division
Virginia Department of Emergency Management
10501 Trade Court
Richmond, VA 23236
(804) 897-9780 office
(804) 385-7487 cell

3. G556 Damage Assessment Course

Dates: February 27, 2019
Times: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location:Zehmer Hall on UVA Grounds (Rooms C/D)
104 Midmont Ln.
Charlottesville, VA 22903

To Register: Click here
Deadline to register is February 22, 2019.
This 1 day course is designed to enable the direction of emergency response personnel and resources to the most appropriate areas and help identify the need for additional resources during an emergency or disaster.

Target Audience: This course is for state and local officials who are responsible for assessing, collecting, and reporting damages during and after any event that causes damage of private, public, and critical infrastructure.
The purpose of this course is to build local capacity for damage assessment by enabling you to develop or refine a damage assessment program for your community. In this course, you will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be able to conduct efficient and effective damage assessments in order to save lives, protect property and the environment, and to begin the process of recovery and mitigation.

Prerequisite: Recommended FEMA’s Independent Study (IS)
IS-100.b Introduction to the Incident Command System
IS-200.b ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS)
IS-800.b National Response Framework
IS-120.a An Introduction to Exercises
IS-130 Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning

Registration Instructions: Registration will be done electronically via the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center at: Deadline to register is February 22, 2019.
If you need help or have questions, please contact the Help Desk at 804-897-9995, 8-5 M-F or email:

1. 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.

2. Physician taken to Nebraska hospital after possible Ebola exposure

Clinicians at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha are monitoring an American physician who was potentially exposed to Ebola while treating patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Politico.

Here are four things to know:

1. The physician, whose identity isn’t being released due to privacy concerns, was transported to a secure area at the hospital Dec. 29. The patient isn’t exhibiting signs of Ebola. If symptoms develop, the patient will be transferred to the hospital’s biocontainment unit.

2. “This person may have been exposed to the virus but is not ill and is not contagious,” Ted Cieslak, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at University of Nebraska Medical Center, said in a press release. “Should any symptoms develop, the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC team is among the most qualified in the world to deal with them.”

3. The physician treated a patient at a missionary hospital in the Congo who later tested positive for Ebola. Before being transported to Nebraska Medical Center, the physician received the experimental Ebola vaccine and was under observation for a week. Since Ebola can incubate for three weeks before a person begins exhibiting symptoms, the physician will be monitored at Nebraska Medical Center for up to two weeks, according to the report.

4. This isn’t the first time Nebraska Medical Center has monitored Ebola patients. In 2014, the hospital treated three Ebola patients. In 2015, five people were monitored at the hospital after being exposed to the virus, but none of them developed the disease, according to CNN.

Source:Ayla Ellison of Becker’s Clinical Leadership & Infection Control

3. Telephone Scammers Impersonating Police Officers

The Virginia State Police, the Virginia Fusion Center, and the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center have observed numerous fraudulent telephone scams involving police impersonation.  The scammers claimed to be police officers and provided a valid Virginia State Police telephone number to verify their claims. In some cases the scammers did followup contact and claimed to be Social Security officers or Attorney Generals. The scammers falsely made claims that the victim’s identity had been stolen, the victim had current criminal charges/warrants pending, and the victim needed to send money immediately in order for the charges to be cleared. The scammers most often requested the money be transferred or wired into an account; however, gift cards as payment was also demanded. In some cases, the scammers communicated with their victims through Whatsapp, a free messaging application. If the victim blocked the scammers’ telephone number, the scammers persisted to call from an “unknown” or ‘blocked” telephone number. 

For more information, please click here to download the document from the Virginia Fusion Center.

4. How did Virginia end up with a $31 million bill for emergency shelters it barely used?

After Hurricane Florence spared Virginia, the state still had to pay a company $31 million to set up emergency shelters that were barely used. And Virginia didn’t even get to keep most of the supplies, which went back into the firm’s warehouses or to the next emergency. The last-minute contract, signed as the hurricane bore down, required the state to pay $650 a head for 5,775 shelter spots — regardless of how many people were housed.

Aging shelter plan

In 2014, the state twice put out bids for a shelter contract, said Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. It asked for “turnkey operations” to support 16 state-managed shelters with 72 hours’ notice. No companies responded to the bid. Several companies “expressed their hesitancy to support such a large undertaking within the given timeline requirements (72 hours) and supporting evacuees (liability concerns),” state emergency management coordinator Jeffrey Stern wrote in a memo in October.

In 2015 and 2016, VDEM conducted a series of listening sessions and, combined with studies and audits over the years, found several problems with the way Virginia has approached disaster sheltering, including inconsistent state and local coordination and limited staffing.

In August 2017, the state tried going out to bid again, this time asking for an emergency services contractor pool to be called on to provide services such as the set up, operation and breakdown of “base camps” to support emergency operations.

To read the rest of the article, click here

Source: Marie Albiges of Daily Press

5. 10 issues facing hospital & health system pharmacy in 2019

Healthcare Reform

Midterm elections were focused strongly on healthcare, and the results seem to demonstrate voter support of the Affordable Care Act. While providing many benefits, there are still many elements that could benefit from a revised approach, such as high monthly premiums, limited access in some areas, affordability, and adequate funding. We spend over 18% of our total GDP at $3.3 trillion dollars annually on healthcare. We can and must do better in all of the above areas and everyone should hold all elected officials accountable for their performance on improving healthcare. With medications representing the fastest growing element of US healthcare spending and the primary treatment modality for the majority of patients, pharmacy can play a significant role in addressing these challenges.

Continuing Drug Shortages
We have seen no significant abatement of the ongoing issues surrounding drug shortages this year and there are no indications that this situation will improve in 2019. As of this publication there are well over 200 drugs in shortage situations. The impact of drug shortages is significant and includes the expense and time to provide alternative medications, communicate statuses with staff, keep IT and automation updated with new products, purchase cost of non-contracted products, and more.

Opioid Epidemic
Unfortunately, the current opioid epidemic shows no signs of abating in 2019. Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids and the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is approximately $80B annually and rising.

With the advent of much more powerful pain medications including the recently released Dsuvia (sufentanil sublingual), which is 5-10X more powerful than fentanyl, physicians were given significantly enhanced medications to manage pain. However, the unintended consequence was an enormous increase in people addicted to prescription pain medications. It is possible to become addicted after a single course of treatment and it is impossible to predict exactly who might have this addiction predilection.

For 2019 hospitals and health systems should have better opioid management as a priority and consider an Opioid Stewardship program.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Source: James Jorgenson of Becker’s Hospital Review

6. Patient dies after jumping from Chicago hospital window

A patient died after jumping from a window at Chicago-based Mercy Hospital Dec. 26, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The 47-year-old man was a patient who broke the window at the hospital before jumping, a police source told the publication. 

In a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times, hospital officials said: “On the morning of Dec. 26, 2018, an individual was found deceased on the grounds of Mercy Hospital. The cause and circumstances of the individual’s death are under investigation.” A hospital spokesperson did not provide the publication anymore details. 

According to police, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. No further information has been released by the Cook County medical examiner’s office regarding the death.

Source: Morgan Haefner of Becker’s Hospital Review

7. Illinois nurses receive $7.9M settlement after hostage incident

A nurse at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Ill., collected $7.2 million from a lawsuit settlement with Kane County, Ill., after she was held hostage and sexually assaulted by a hospitalized inmate, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The lawsuit, which four nurses joined, claimed Kane County, a corrections deputy and a private security firm were at fault for the hostage standoff. The settlement totals $7.9 million, according to court documents and a police report obtained by the Chicago Tribune. Another nurse taken hostage received $650,000, while two other nurses involved collected $25,000 each.

The hostage incident occured on May 13, 2017. While hospitalized at Delnor Hospital, Tywon Salters took a handgun from a correctional officer with the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. He then took two nurses captive and sexually assaulted one of them, according to the report. SWAT officers fatally shot Mr. Salters about five hours after the ordeal began, and one nurse was struck in the arm by the bullet that first hit Mr. Salters.

The nurses’ lawsuit alleged the sheriff’s officers and private security guards failed to follow proper procedures while guarding Mr. Salters during his hospital stay. While federal court records don’t indicate if the lawsuit was dismissed, the nurses and their spouses agreed to dismiss the suit in the settlement, according to the report.

Source: Morgan Haefner of Becker’s Hospital Review