October 14 – 20, 2019




1. Regional Coalition Meeting

The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition will hold its monthly meeting Thursday November 14 beginning at 10:30 am. The agenda, the October meeting minutes, and the conference dial-in information will be sent to the routine attendees on the Tuesday prior to the meeting. The meeting will be held via our Ring Central conference call line.

2. Save the Dates

Upcoming training and conferences:

          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 next offerings are October 17th in Front Royal, November 7th in Charlottesville, and the last offering will be in Winchester once a new date and location has been confirmed. You can register for any of the 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.

National Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Conference 2019

Being a part of #NHCPC19 provides many benefits to all attendees, including:

  • Networking with peers from across a variety of professional fields
  • Learning best practices from experts in the healthcare arena
  • Access to vendors with unique insight into emergency preparedness
  • Educational and actionable sessions that provide a leading edge for your organization
  • A shared wealth of lessons learned and data gathered
  • Enjoy Houston and all our beautiful host city has to offer
  • Experience workshops with up to date techniques and information

From the National Healthcare Coalition Conference website.

“The goal for the 2019 Conference is Taking Coalitions to New Heights. Healthcare Coalitions are a very real force multiplier for resiliency. They are essential in facilitating a more relevant, timely, effective and efficient response, which in turn improves how affected communities’ needs are met during disasters as well as improving how emergency needs are met every day. Creating an evidence base is vital to making the case for ongoing investment in resiliency. We know that allocating scarce resources requires decision-makers to understand the trade-offs between different opportunities. Building an optimal resiliency portfolio requires robust analysis. We view our HCC expenditures as investments as they occur in a context of uncertainty and offer yields both in financial returns and/or improved outcomes.”

If interested in attending and receiving reimbursement from the Coalition (we are limited to only two members per Coalition, please contact Matt Cronin, Exercise & Training Coordinator).

More information about the event can be found, here

Association of Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Professionals Annual Conference 2019

AHEPP Annual offers an opportunity for Administrators, Emergency Preparedness Coordinators, Directors of Public Health Preparedness, Emergency Managers, RN’s, and professionals in the preparedness field to share the latest research and best practices, network, and collaborate on ways to move healthcare preparedness forward.

More information about the event can be found, here.

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.

Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Credit:

Virginia Department of Health

Virginia Department of Health Weekly Influenza Activity Report

The Virginia Department of Health monitors the level of activity of influenza-like illness (ILI) each week from October through May. Those are the months when influenza (“flu”) is most likely to occur in Virginia, and that time period is referred to as the “flu season”.

Data Sources:
The Virginia Department of Health uses a number of different data sources to determine the level of flu activity that is occurring each week during flu season. The main data sources that are used to make the weekly flu activity level determination are:

  • laboratory reports
  • outbreak reports, and
  • data on visits to hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers for flu-like illness.

Flu Activity Levels:
Flu surveillance is not designed to count every person who has the disease. That would be nearly impossible because not all people with the disease are diagnosed by a physician and even fewer have their illness confirmed by a laboratory test.

Instead, VDH monitors changes in flu activity from week to week in each of the five health planning regions to look for increases compared to a baseline period. Activity is based on illness complaints that lead people to seek care in a hospital emergency department or urgent care center. Flu-like illness is defined as a fever along with a cough and/or a sore throat.

In addition to looking at changes in the number of visits for flu-like illness in each region from week to week, VDH staff also factor in information about outbreaks that have been reported in each region as well as cases of influenza that have been confirmed by specific laboratory methods.

In order for the weekly flu activity level in Virginia to be comparable to those reported by other states, national definitions established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are followed. The national definitions of flu activity levels are:

  • No Activity: No laboratory-confirmed cases† of influenza and no reported increase in the number of cases of ILI.
  • Sporadic: Small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreak has been reported, but there is no increase in cases of ILI.
  • Local: Outbreak of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region of the state
  • Regional: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least 2 but less than half the regions of the state.
  • Widespread: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state.

To view the weekly report, click here.


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





Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Update: Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Evaluating and Caring for Patients with Suspected E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use Associated Lung Injury

CDC will review updates to prior interim recommendations for U.S. health care providers caring for patients with suspected or known lung injury published in MMWR on October 11, 2019. 
Continuing Education is not offered for this COCA Call.
If you are unable to attend this live COCA Call, the closed captioned video will be available to view on-demand on the call page a few days after the call. Please note: The slides for this presentation will be posted on the call page under the “Call Materials” tab on the day of the call.

Date: Thursday, October 17, 2019
Time: 2:00pm–3:00pm (ET)
A few minutes before the webinar begins, please click the link below to join:
Or join by iPhone one-tap:
US: +16468769923,,623893178# or +16699006833,,623893178#
Or join by Telephone:
US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833
Webinar ID: 623 893 178

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

Course Offerings

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

L0102 Science of Disasters course is scheduled for November 18 – 20, 2019. Please see the flyer for additional details.

L0102 Course Announcement Prince William County EOC

L0103 Planning: Emergency Operations course is scheduled for December 4-5, 2019. Please see the flyer for additional details.

L0103 Course Announcement Stafford County Public Safety Center

1. Power outages hit Kaiser, Dignity hospitals in California

Roughly 800,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Northern California had their electricity shut off Oct. 9 as part of a planned power outage by the state’s largest utility, according to CNN.

PG&E shut off power to customers to avoid sparking a wildfire during forecasted high winds. The company started restoring power to some areas on the morning of Oct. 10, but several hospitals are among the 600,000 customers still without power because of the shutdown.

At least four of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente’s hospitals were affected by the outage. Those facilities are running on generators, Kaiser Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson told Yahoo Finance on Oct. 10. The health system is reaching out to patients who need to reschedule outpatient services, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco-based Dignity Health said its hospitals would run on generators if power is shut off. One of its hospitals, St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff, is using generator power to keep its emergency room open, according to KRCR. The hospital will stay open during the duration of the outage.

Walnut Creek, Calif.-based John Muir Health is moving medications that need refrigeration from clinics affected by the power outage to clinics where power will be maintained, according the San Francisco Chronicle. The health system’s clinics in Orinda, Lafayette and San Ramon, Calif., were closed Oct. 10 and will remain closed Oct. 11.

Irvine, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health closed two of its urgent care clinics that lost power, but its hospitals are not expected to lose power.

Several of Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health’s hospitals may be affected. The health system told the San Francisco Chronicle that patients should contact their medical team directly with any questions.

Source: Ayla Ellison of Becker’s Hospital Review

2. Ballad Health takes first steps to reopening rural Virginia hospital

Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health opened an urgent care center in Lee County, Va., as it gears up to fully reopen Lee County Hospital, reports The Roanoke Times.

The Pennington Gap, Va.-based hospital shuttered in 2013. The Lee County Hospital Authority voted in January to partner with Ballad Health to reopen the hospital. Ballad was created last year through the merger of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance. Wellmont was the last system to operate the hospital.

Ballad’s new urgent care center opened Oct. 9 and is staffed by eight physicians, nurses and radiology techs, according to The Roanoke Times. It will offer some additional medical services in the area while Ballad begins the work to stand up operations again at Lee County Hospital.

Ballad Chief Administrative Officer Marvin Eichorn said the hospital is slated to reopen next fall, according to the report. Ballad is currently upgrading the building and beginning the Medicare and Medicaid approval process, according to the report.

Read more here.   

Source: Emily Rappleye of Becker’s Hospital CFO Report

3. The Early Years: Shaping a National Stockpile for Preparedness

In today’s emergency response landscape, public health jurisdictions across the United States rely on the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) when incidents prove large enough or severe enough to deplete medicines and supplies needed to protect communities. In just 20 years, the SNS – now managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) – has grown to a $7 billion enterprise poised to respond to a variety of public health threats. These threats include anthrax, botulism, smallpox, plague, tularemia and viral hemorrhagic fevers, as well as emerging infectious diseases, pandemic influenza, natural disasters, and other chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents. Although predicting the future of any program is challenging, the SNS has evolved from humble beginnings to a formidable component of national security.

Early discussions about establishing a federal stockpile of medical products centered around planning for the year 2000 – commonly called Y2K – amid fears of terrorist attacks significant enough to cause healthcare facilities to run short on supplies. In January 1999, Congress charged HHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with creating a repository of medical countermeasures (MCMs) for use in the event of a chemical or biological terrorist attack on U.S. civilian populations. This repository was initially named the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile.

Building the Stockpile Piece by Piece

With a $51 million appropriation and a handful of public health professionals quietly housed in CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, the program expanded systematically to meet Congress’ intent to protect the American people. Within one month, the stockpile was augmenting the National Medical Response Team’s inventory by providing funds to HHS to procure and forward-position treatments and antidotes for up to 10,000 individuals if a nerve agent release occurred. This effort ultimately became today’s CHEMPACK program, a far-forward-placed stock of medicines to respond to chemical nerve agent attacks or incidents involving organophosphorus pesticides.

To read the entire article, click here.
Source: Greg Burel of Domestic Preparedness.com

4. From Amateur Radio Social Club to 50 Years of Disaster Response

Steve Landers started with a two-way, amateur (ham) radio club that felt like family, led to participation in disaster response that continued through a lifetime of emergencies and disasters in Macon-Bibb County, Ga.

Steve Landers was about 16 years old when he joined a group of amateur radio enthusiasts. He found a unique camaraderie within the group and deep desire to help those in need.
Those feelings still run deep, countless disasters and 50 years later.

Of that initial ham radio group, Landers said, “Basically it was a social club of two-way radio enthusiasts, but it didn’t take long to figure out that the main interest was the support of the civil aid unit.”

Landers has volunteered his services as part of the Macon-Bibb, Ga., Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Volunteer Group ever since, starting with dragging the Ocmulgee River for drowning victims to responding to fatal traffic accidents on the motorway, to responding to tornadoes, to participating in the response during the devastating floods of 1994.

That opportunity to grow, learn, participate and feel needed is why so many volunteers stick with it so long. Billiot said that along with Landers, there are other members who’ve participated for more than 20 years and up to 40.

Hawkins is grateful for the dedication. “Macon-Bibb County is lucky to have someone like Steve Landers,” he said in an email. “There are untold number of people that Mr. Landers has either inspired to volunteer themselves or were made safer during disaster situations because of his actions.”

To read the entire article, click here.
Source: Jim McKay of Government Technology.com

5. Opioid Crisis Affects First Responders and the Whole Community

The national opioid crisis has affected countless lives in the United States and first responders are among them.

More than 130 people die each day after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and first responders are likely on the scene of many of those overdoses. The stresses of responding repeatedly to try to save someone from dying of an overdose is just part of the risk that first responders face when it comes to addiction.

First responders have long had a history of being susceptible to negative impacts on their mental health because of the nature of their jobs. Responding time and again to overdoses, sometimes involving the same people, can create burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder. There is also the very real possibility of the first responder falling victim to a “contact overdose”

“Opioids are a big issue for the community in general,” said Mike Reilly, executive director of Virginia Fire Programs. Reilly was tasked by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to address mental health in the fire services. “Certainly, we in the fire service respond to quite a bit of that and are not immune to the general stresses and challenges that the general community faces. In fact, we may be more stressed based on the things we see each day and as a result might be more prone to that.”

To read the entire article, click here.
Source: Jim McKay of Government Technology.com

6. Berkely reaches out to vulnerable residents during shutoff, but evacuation call prompts criticism

While PG&E has come under fire all week for its handling of the widespread power shutoff, the city of Berkeley caught a few of the embers Wednesday too.

Hundreds of Twitter users were angered by messages from the city telling Berkeley Hills residents with accessibility needs to “use their own resources to get out,” or call 911 if they can’t. The numerous people who responded accused the city of callously telling vulnerable residents to fend for themselves or rack up a steep medical bill.

A city spokesman said the social media chatter does not reflect the “massive mobilization of city staff” actively working throughout the outage to identify and contact affected residents with high needs. Berkeley has also been pushing out resource lists and safety advisories on a number of platforms while PG&E’s website has been down.

“Hills residents! If you live in a potential @PGE4Me shutoff area and have accessibility needs or use life sustaining medical equipment that is compromised during an outage, please plan to evacuate and also call 311 so we can get your information,” the city tweeted.

Later that night, Melissa Male, a local disability rights advocate, responded, “What is the city doing to help those who don’t have the means or ability to evacuate? Where are they to go to? Are there accessible shelters set up?”

“Hi Melissa,” the city replied the next afternoon. “We are asking those in the potentially affected area who are power-dependent for medical reasons to use their own resources to get out. If they are unable to relocate and power loss will cause an immediate life threat, call 911 for transport to an Emergency Room.” Berkeley reiterated the message in an additional tweet.

A public safety power shutoff is an unusual situation. When there’s an officially declared natural disaster, “state and regional health systems coordinate resources to help people with medical needs,” Chakko told Berkeleyside. However, Berkeley has worked for years to identify local residents who have what the state calls “access and functional needs.”

To read the entire article, click here.
Source: Natalie Orenstein of Berkeleyside