October 21 – 27, 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 offering is November 7th in Charlottesville. The last offering will be in Winchester once a new date and location has been confirmed. You can register 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. UPDATE: The Coalition will host the MGT – 349 Pediatric Disaster Response and Emergency Preparedness course November 18 – 19, 2019 in Harrisonburg, VA. We must have at least 30 attendees to offer the course. We are currently at 24. The deadline to meet this requirement is October 28th. If we do not have enough people to register, the course must be cancelled. This is a FEMA requirement. Please see the link for more details.

Questions regarding upcoming training, please contact our Exercise and Training Coordinator, Matt Cronin. 

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.

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




The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Highlights

Monthly Infectious Disease Update

October 2019

Infectious Disease Update for the HPH Sector – October 2019

Highlights include: 

  • Government program launching to modernize development of flu vaccines.
  • Annual report on global preparedness for health emergencies.
  • Newly confirmed domestic dengue fever cases.
  • Ebola
    • U.S. and U.K. governments issue travel alert related to potential unreported cases in Tanzania.

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

Updated every Thursday

    • As  of October 15, 2019, 1,479* lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, have been reported to CDC from the District of Columbia, 1 U.S. territory (USVI), and 49 states (all except Alaska).
    • Thirty-three deaths have been confirmed in 24 states: Alabama, California (3), Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia (2), Illinois, Indiana (3), Kansas (2), Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota (3), Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon (2), Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. More deaths are under investigation.

Click here to read more and to stay up-to-date.

Credit: U.S. Food & Drug


Credit: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Trump Administration Strengthens Oversight of Nursing Home Inspections to Keep Patients and Residents Safe

Oct 17, 2019 – CMS announces enhanced oversight of State inspectors and the inspection process, responding to growing concerns about consistency and timeliness of inspections

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a major step in the Agency’s efforts to ensure safety and quality for nursing home patients and residents. As part of continuing efforts to keep nursing home residents safe and respond to concerns about inconsistent and untimely inspections, CMS is strengthening the system it uses to hold inspectors accountable, the State Performance Standards System (SPSS). Nursing homes are inspected by State Survey Agencies (SSAs), and their inspections protect patients and residents by ensuring nursing homes comply with federal safety guidelines. Under the changes announced in a memo to states today, CMS will, through the updated SPSS assessment tools, more rigorously and rapidly analyze SSA performance to ensure inspections are timely and accurate. This includes new performance measures and stricter monitoring to ensure inspections are done in a fair, accurate, and timely manner, ensuring patient safety, and ensuring that enforcement actions – like civil money penalties – are applied consistently. This action is the latest example of CMS delivering on its five-part plan to ensure safety and quality in the nation’s nursing homes – specifically strengthening oversight.

Click here to read the entire release.

         U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Federal Emergency Management Agency


Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Course Offerings

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. CDC give vaping illness new name: EVALI

The CDC has penned a new name for vaping-related illness: EVALI, which stands for e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury, according to new healthcare recommendations the agency released Oct. 11.  

The interim guidelines focus on initial assessment, criteria for hospital admission and treatment, patient follow-up, considerations for high-risk groups and public recommendations regarding EVALI. Rapid diagnosis and an understanding of treatment options could reduce EVALI morbidity and mortality, the CDC said. 

Initial assessment recommendations include a respiratory virus panel, especially during flu season, and evaluation of community-acquired pneumonia. Treatment guidelines suggest using corticosteroids. Of 140 patients who received the medication nationwide, 82 percent showed improvement, according to the CDC. However, the agency cautions providers to withhold corticosteroids when evaluating for infectious etiologies, like pneumonia, that could potentially worsen with corticosteroid treatment.  

CDC is currently developing guidelines for EVALI healthcare encounters as new data emerges. While the exact chemicals responsible for the illness are still unknown, CDC recommends people stop or decrease use of products containing THC and/or nicotine.  

As of Oct. 11, 1,299 EVALI cases have been reported in the U.S., with 26 related deaths reported in 21 states.  

For EVALI updates from the CDC, click here.

Source: Gabrielle Masson of Becker’s Clinical Leadership & Infection Control

2. Facebook’s blood donation tool expands to entire US

In an effort to combat blood shortages, Facebook expanded its blood donation tool to the entire continental U.S., according to Business Insider.

The tool allows Facebook users to mark themselves as blood donors so hospitals, blood banks and the American Red Cross can request donations from them when they experience shortages.

The tool was previously only available in five U.S. cities and more than 500 people made appointments with the Red Cross to donate during the test period. It has also been available in four other countries, where Facebook says it has helped facilitate tens of thousands of donations.

Read the full article here.

Source: Maia Anderson of Becker’s Hospital Review

3. Shortage of flu nasal spray expected this year

FluMist, the alternative to the injectable flu shot, will likely be in short supply this year, according to STAT. 

The nasal spray’s maker, AstraZeneca, has shipped only three lots, or about 758,000 doses, to the U.S. market, which is a fraction of what it supplied in earlier seasons. 

AstraZeneca said the short supply resulted from difficulty producing viruses needed for two of the four components of the vaccine. 

Read more here.

Source: Alia Paavola of Becker’s Hospital Review