September 2 – 8, 2019




1. Surge & Evacuation Project

The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition will conduct a Regional Surge Capacity and Evacuation Plan project for the acute care, critical access, psychiatric, and rehabilitation hospitals in the region. This project has several goals such as determining space management, resources and assets to complement existing plans, enhance rapid assessment capabilities of transportation resources, and establish a process to ensure the patients are evacuated using the right patient/right place theory during a hospital evacuation. For more information, please click here.

2. Save the Dates

Upcoming regional training:

          a. The Coalition will conduct four training opportunities titled NIMS-in-a-Nutshell.

           NIMS and ICS – what do they mean and how do they apply to your facility or organization? This workshop will describe the purpose of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and provide an overview of how the Incident Command System (ICS) can be applied to your facility. At the end of the workshop, the attendees will work through a facilitated table top exercise to apply what was learned and to implement your Emergency Operations Plan. The offerings are spread around the region to help limit travel time for attendees. The first offering is October 10th in Harrisonburg. The second offering is October 17th in Front Royal. The third offering is November 7th in Charlottesville. The fourth offering is November 14th in Winchester. Please watch the events calendar for more information and the exact location once we have received confirmation from the host. You can still register for any of the four offerings by clicking here. Please obtain the password to complete the registration process by contacting Becki Chester or Matt Cronin from the Contact Us page.


          b. The Coalition will host the MGT – 349 Pediatric Disaster Response and Emergency Preparedness course November 18 – 19, 2019 in Harrisonburg, VA. Questions regarding upcoming training, please contact our Exercise and Training Coordinator, Matt Cronin. Please see the link for more details.

3. Clinical Advisor

The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition is seeking a part-time physician to serve as a clinical advisor. The job announcement can be found here. We ask healthcare organizational staff to please assist us by spreading the word about this open position. As part of our grant funding requirement, we must hire a physician before the next grant period begins.


4. Memorandum of Understanding

We are pleased to announce that the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition continues to receive 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 organization resides within the Northwest Region and you have 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.


Click here to access our website. Don’t forget to visit the Events calendar for upcoming training and exercise events.


We have developed a one page understanding of the regional coalition that can be shared between coalition partners. Please click here to view the regional “one-pager”.

Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Credit:

Virginia Department of Health

Save the Date for the 2020 Virginia Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness Academy

Virginia Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness Academy will be held in Harrisonburg, VA. The dates are March 23 – 25, 2020 at the Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center. Because this event will be held in the Northwest Region next year, we would ask that as many of our healthcare partners that can attend do so. We hope to make a great showing and showcase how the Northwest Region supports emergency management and preparedness efforts. Details about lodging and other topics such as allowable travel and reimbursements will be provided as we receive them. 

So, for now, please put this event on your calendar as we hope to see as many of you that can attend.


Health & Human Services

 Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response


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

Hospital Preparedness Program




1. New: ASPR TRACIE Disaster Behavioral Health Self Care for Healthcare Workers Modules  

ASPR TRACIE has worked closely with ASPR At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience (ABC) interagency/external partner working groups in every disaster recovery operation for the last four years. One continuous knowledge gap identified during this time has been the need for information for front-line healthcare and social services workers to use prior to a disaster to recognize and reduce their stress levels and maintain resilience during recovery. These modules are designed for healthcare workers in all settings, but primarily hospital-based providers. We also encourage you to check out our Disaster Behavioral Health Resources page.


2.  New: Emergency Preparedness Information Modules for Nurses in Acute Care Settings (EPIMN)

To address the perceived gap nurses traditionally report specific to emergency preparedness and response knowledge, ASPR TRACIE partnered with Spectrum Health to develop a series of healthcare emergency preparedness information modules for nurses (EPIMN) in acute care settings. To complement this effort, we also engaged a senior health economist to construct a framework to assess the impact and outcomes associated with implementing training programs like EPIMN. This report describes the project and includes links to all related materials.


3.  New: Partnering with the Healthcare Supply Chain to Improve Disaster Response and Healthcare Coalition Supply Chain Integrity Self-Assessment Checklist

The healthcare supply chain is complex. It supports patient care on a daily basis by producing and delivering medications as well as products ranging from gloves and gowns, to diagnostics, to pharmaceuticals and biomedical equipment, to surgical supplies. Around the world, the healthcare supply chain is confronted with countless small to large challenges every day. During disasters or catastrophic events, the healthcare supply chain can experience distinct strains depending on the nature of the event and the impact on surrounding infrastructure. These resources provide an overview of the emergency planning and response considerations of healthcare supply chain owners, operators, and end users, as well as insights for healthcare coalitions working with healthcare supply chain partners on preparedness, response, and recovery.


4. October 13-15, 2019

The 2019 Home Care and Hospice Conference and Expo provides home care and hospice professionals the opportunity to network, learn from colleagues and discuss exciting new trends in home care and hospice delivery. ASPR TRACIE will be speaking on the connection between home health and hospice providers and medical surge capabilities. The ASPR TRACIE session, Disaster Preparedness Update: CMS Surveys and ASPR TRACIE’s Home Care and Hospice Surge Project, is scheduled for October 15, at 2:30 PM.  


5. HHS Secretary Azar Statement on Illnesses Associated with E-Cigarettes

As of August 27, 2019, health departments from 25 states have reported 215 possible cases of pulmonary illnesses from users of e-cigarette products, resulting in one death, and additional reports are under investigation. HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement:

“HHS and the Trump Administration are using every tool we have to get to the bottom of this deeply concerning outbreak of illnesses in Americans who use e-cigarettes. More broadly, we will continue using every regulatory and enforcement power we have to stop the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. This situation, and the rising tide of youth tobacco use, is a top public health priority for the Trump Administration and every leader at HHS.”

To read the rest of the statement, click here.

Source: HHS

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Using E-Cigarette Products


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing: 1) background information on the forms of e-cigarette products, 2) information on the multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with using e-cigarette products (devices, liquids, refill pods, and cartridges), and 3) clinical features of patients with severe pulmonary disease. This health advisory also provides recommendations for clinicians, public health officials, and the public based on currently available information.

General Background

E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, most also contain flavorings and other chemicals, and some may contain marijuana or other substances. They are known by many different names and come in many shapes, sizes and device types. Devices may be referred to as “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” “mods,” tanks, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Some e-cigarette devices resemble other tobacco products such as cigarettes; some resemble ordinary household items such as USB flash drives, pens, and flashlights; and others have unique shapes. Use of e-cigarettes is sometimes referred to as “vaping” or “juuling.” E-cigarettes used for dabbing are sometimes called “dab” pens.

E-cigarettes can contain harmful or potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals (e.g., lead), volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals. Additionally, some e-cigarette products are used to deliver illicit substances; may be acquired from unknown or unauthorized (i.e., “street”) sources; and may be modified for uses that could increase their potential for harm to the user.

Click here for more information.

Credit: U.S. Food & Drug


Credit: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


         U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Federal Emergency Management Agency


Virginia Department of Emergency Management

1. Hurricane Season 2019

Know Your Zone

Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Local Gov’t Officials’ Guide to Emergency Management

Dear Local Partner,

As we approach the heart of hurricane season, I wanted to reach out on behalf of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) to thank you for your dedication to hurricane preparedness. In 2018, the Commonwealth experienced one of our busiest disaster years on record as VDEM supported local partners through 16 disasters and 119 recoveries that affected 82 localities throughout the Commonwealth.

The damages facing our residents, businesses, and local governments exceeded $173 million in 2018 alone, and 12 people lost their lives due to storm-related inland flooding and tornadoes. With that in mind, I want to reiterate that hurricane impacts are not just a problem for Virginia’s coastal region – the devastation can reach from Southwest Virginia to the National Capitol Region, and from the Shenandoah Valley to the Eastern Shore. This year is the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, which killed more than 150 Virginians, and proved that hurricanes are truly a statewide issue.

For coastal Virginians, learning your hurricane evacuation zone and corresponding evacuation routes, as well as reviewing the Commonwealth’s Hurricane Evacuation Guide at before a storm hits, can prove invaluable. Coastal Virginians can also call 2-1-1 to learn their evacuation zone if they do not have access to a computer or internet services.

For non-coastal Virginians, the Hurricane Preparedness Guide provides significant information on storm-related effects along with recommendations for how to prepare, respond, and recover.

Finally, we recently updated our Local Government Officials’ Guide to Emergency Management, which is another helpful resource for you to better understand the emergency management process at the state level. I encourage you to develop relationships with your local emergency managers and neighboring jurisdictions before a storm hits.  Thank you again for your dedication and continued efforts to help our Commonwealth prepare for disasters.

Jeffrey D. Stern, Ph.D.
State Coordinator

Course Offerings

Emergency Management Professional Program Basic Academy Course Announcements. Please see the flyer for additional details.

EMPP Basic Academy Announcement and Application

L0146: Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP)
Dates: September 4-5, 2019 at the Virginia Emergency Operations Center, 7700 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23235
To Register:  Click  (last day to register August 23rd)
Prerequisite: IS 120.c ( and complete form FEMA 119-25 (

ICS 300 Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents course is scheduled for September 14-15, 2019. Please see flyer for additional details.

Course Announcement ICS 300 Shenandoah, VA

MGT-418 Readiness: Training Identification and Preparedness Planning (RTIPP) course is rescheduled for September 23-24, 2019. Please see the flyer for additional details.     

MGT418 Course Announcement – Spotsylvania VA

ICS 300 Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents course is scheduled for October 1-3, 2019. Please see flyer for additional details.

Course Announcement ICS 300 Stafford, VA

PER-335 Complex Coordinated Attacks (CCA) course is scheduled for October 15-16, 2019. Please see the flyer for additional details.

PER335 Course Announcement – Fredericksburg, VA

G205 Recovery from Disaster: The Local Community Role course is scheduled for October 29-30, 2019. Please see the flyer for additional details.

G205 Course Announcement Orange, VA

Survey 101: The accreditation survey isn’t your only concern

Does your compliance calendar run on a one- or three-year schedule to match when you expect surveyors from your accreditation organization? It shouldn’t.

In this excerpt from the 2019 edition of HCPro’s book, theChapter Leader’s Guide to Environment of Care,” author Thomas J. Huser, MS, CHSP, CHEP, MEMS, offers reminders of the other regulators to watch out for as you strive for patient safety and compliance overall:

Other Regulatory Agencies

As I mentioned previously, we as humans tend to fall into the survey cycle, rather than striving toward continuous readiness. One person cannot maintain survey readiness for the entire facility, but you can fight the cycle mentality within your areas of responsibility. Keep pushing the information you learn up your chain of command. You can promote involvement from other departments through performance improvement (discussed in the next section). Share what you learn, challenge others to rise to continuous readiness, and partner with other chapter leaders who share the goal of fighting the survey cycle.

It is amazing to me how people can focus so much of their time and energy prepping for one particular survey agency and forget about the others. Your state or local fire marshal can implement fines and penalties, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts inspections to ensure compliance with hazardous material and waste regulations. Then there is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), which can arrive at your doorstep for a random survey or in response to a complaint from a disgruntled employee concerning any number of items for which it has jurisdiction. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has begun conducting surprise site surveys to ensure compliance regarding preparation and shipping of biohazardous and hazardous waste.

If you have a laboratory or research department, they may also receive a surprise inspection from the DOT to ensure that the laboratory or research staff is properly trained on the laws related to interstate shipment of dangerous goods (e.g., biological samples and live organisms). Most hospitals also receive unannounced annual surveys from their state health department, yet they are more concerned about The Joint Commission, even though both represent CMS. There is also the potential for a focused survey if your facility performs transplants or has other specialty programs that receive reimbursement from state or federal health programs. We have even had inspections from the International Air Transport Association concerning the shipment of biological samples via air and compliance with their regulations.

Continuous survey readiness does not just apply to The Joint Commission; it applies to any regulatory or enforcement agency that may arrive at your facility. Anything that is found by a non–Joint Commission agency is also subject to being part of your Joint Commission survey, which in turn can affect your facility’s accreditation and ability to receive reimbursement from federal and state payers along with private insurance. Yes, sometimes you will feel as though you are talking to a wall as you push for program compliance; however, do not give up, because your job, along with the jobs of others in your facility, can hang in the balance.

Source: Thomas J. Huser, MS, CHSP, CHEP, MEMS of Hospital Safety Center