October 28 – November 3, 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 last offering is November 7th in Charlottesville. However, we only have 3 people registered which may require and adjustment to the offering. 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. The Coalition will host the MGT – 349 Pediatric Disaster Response and Emergency Preparedness course November 18 – 19, 2019 in Harrisonburg, VA.  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

Healthcare Supply Chain Edition

October 2019

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Credit: U.S. Food & Drug

Concerns with Medical Device Availability Due to Certain Sterilization Facility Closures

The FDA is closely monitoring the supply chain effects of closures and potential closures of certain facilities that use ethylene oxide to sterilize medical devices prior to their use. The Agency is concerned about the future availability of sterile medical devices and the potential for medical device shortages that might impact patient care.

Additionally, the FDA is working with device manufacturers and health care delivery organizations to ensure they are aware of the issues and preparing to reduce the patient impact if medical devices sterilized at these sterilization facilities become unavailable.

Read More

Credit: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


         U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Federal Emergency Management Agency

1. Zombieland PSA 

FEMA’s Ready Campaign and the Ad Council are joining with Sony Pictures to promote the critical message of emergency preparedness through a Public Service Advertising campaign tied to the upcoming film, “Zombieland: Double Tap.”

Watch Video PSA Now

2. PrepTalk Released: David Kaufman’s “Our Changing World: The Challenge for Emergency Managers”

Today, FEMA and its emergency management partners released David Kaufman’s PrepTalk “Our Changing World: The Challenge for Emergency Managers.” In his PrepTalk, Kaufman explains the evolving trends around the world, where they intersect, and how they will dictate the future  of emergency management.

Kaufman is the Vice President and Director for Safety and Security at CNA, a non-profit organization that provides operational analysis to advance the safety and security of the United States. He has also served as the Associate Administrator for Policy, Program Analysis, and International Affairs at FEMA, and is a faculty member in Georgetown University’s Emergency and Disaster Management Program.

His PrepTalk video and additional resources are available at www.fema.gov/preptalks/kaufman. Kaufman is the first presentation to be released on video from the 5th PrepTalks Symposium, held September 19th in Washington, DC.

PrepTalks are a partnership between FEMA, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Homeland Security Consortium, and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management

1. VDEM Headquarters Office Move Begins October 22

Agency Phone Numbers to Change in Mid-November, Temporary Media and Stakeholder Contact Numbers Below

RICHMOND – Beginning Oct. 22,  the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) relocate its main headquarters from 10501 Trade Court in North Chesterfield to 9711 Farrar Court, North Chesterfield. Staff and operations will be relocated over the next few weeks, with the new facility fully operational by the week of Nov. 4. 

During the transition, landlines will be down. New phone numbers will be assigned to the department at the new facility and will be communicated at a later date. In the interim, staff members can be reached on their mobile devices–those numbers are not impacted–by email, or by calling the Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) at 804-674-2400.

For media needs between now and the completion of the move, media can contact External Affairs Director Jeff Caldwell on his mobile phone at 804-305-9411. 

Once the new facility is occupied, the new switchboard line for the department will be 804-267-7600, new media line will be 804-267-7610 and new elected officials line will be 804-267-7611.

The 9711 Farrar Court facility will allow VDEM to better serve Virginians while lowering operational costs. Follow VDEM on Facebook or Twitter for updates. 

2. Course Offerings

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. NIOSH adds new Fentanyl toolkit

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) added a toolkit to its library of Fentanyl resources for first responders. This new toolkit helps first responders learn how to best protect themselves from exposure to Fentanyl.

Any emergency responders who may encounter drugs or drug paraphernalia during the course of their work should review these materials. This includes law enforcement, EMS providers, fire department personnel, investigators, evidence handlers, special operations and decontamination workers. The toolkit contains:

  • Two videos – one shows body camera footage of an officer who was exposed to an illicit drug; the other discusses how to properly don and doff PPE.
  • Infographics on spotting illicit drugs; protecting yourself from exposure; selecting PPE; and decontaminating before you go home.
  • Two postcards on protecting yourself and protecting your family.

While the new toolkit provides quick reference on Fentanyl dangers and exposure protection, the NIOSH’s main page on Fentanyl and illicit drug protection offers more detail on safety. Please see that page for extensive information on PPE, training, decontamination, and handling exposure with working dogs.

Source: NIOSH

2. Overcoming Challenges of Hospital Preparedness Plans

Transitioning from public sector emergency management for a large city to emergency management for a private sector hospital is not easy. The fundamentals of emergency preparedness are the same, but the hospital setting has unique challenges. Each day, there are different numbers of people within the hospital. Some days, the occupants exceed hospital capacity during normal operating conditions. There is no set vulnerable population as the demographics of the population changes hourly. Having a large turnover of people in the hospital because of appointments, outpatient surgeries, visitors, and vendors makes preparedness efforts more challenging.

As performed in the public sector, hospitals must identify their hazards by conducting a hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA), which is like a threat and hazard identification and risk assessment (THIRA). Hospitals need to identify hazards, provide context, and prioritize which hazards make them most vulnerable. The THIRA from the public-sector agencies should be taken into consideration when preparing the HVA as some of the threat to the community will affect hospitals as well. The whole community is needed to prepare for any disaster within a hospital setting.

After identifying hazards and vulnerabilities, the next step is to update the emergency operations plan (EOP). This must be updated annually as local hazards and vulnerabilities may have changed. This is where hospital preparedness gets challenging. Once the EOP is up to date, staff must be trained on the updates and exercise the EOP.

Training can be much more difficult than in the private sector due to budgetary concerns that most hospital emergency managers have to manage in an active hospital. All the services provided at the hospital are revenue generating, which is important for the hospital budget. As such, it is difficult to interrupt surgeries, appointments, laboratory work, and administrative duties to conduct exercises on the EOP. Technology has assisted with this process by having online learning requirements within a health care system. However, online learning only does so much.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Source: Stephen Gibson, posted on Domestic Preparedness.com

3. Legal Preparedness Webinar Series: Ebola and Beyond: Legal Preparedness for Outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Governors Association, and American Bar Association announced the launch of a four-part webinar series“Preparedness and Response for Public Health Emergencies: Exploring the Role of Law,” which will explore legal preparedness for public health emergencies. The series aims to provide a more in depth look into the common legal challenges posed by public health emergencies.

The third webinar will examine challenges public health professionals and responders are facing during the Ebola response, as well as current legal provisions and concepts and how to apply them to future infectious disease emergency response planning. In addition, as studies show vulnerable populations are the most significantly impacted when disasters strike, this webinar will highlight protection of vulnerable populations for the next communicable disease outbreak of public health concern.

November 21 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm


4. How the Disability Community Supported Each Other When the Power Went Out

As thousands of Bay Area households, stores and streetlights were without electricity, three women gathered in a small Oakland apartment to charge their devices and commiserate about PG&E’s unprecedented power shutdown.

“Well, I’ve got a smartphone and a computer,” said Terry De Grace-Morris, a health care worker and ordained minister, who had lost power in her Montclair neighborhood apartment the night before. “The one thing I forgot in preparation for this big to-do was to grind up extra coffee, so I brought my coffee grinder and coffee over.”

De Grace-Morris went to Katie Savin’s home near the Oakland-Emeryville border, which didn’t experience any service interruptions. Savin had put her name on a shared “mutual aid” spreadsheet that was started by several community activists a day before the first round of shutoffs.

By Friday, about 250 mostly East Bay residents had signed on to the list, whose existence was spread by word of mouth, to offer neighbors without power everything from outlets and fridge space to a place to spend the night.

The list was largely created to help people with disabilities, many of whom depend on power for essential resources like breathing and mobility devices, said Savin, a social worker and disability activist who has diabetes and needs her insulin supply refrigerated. It’s a community, she noted, that largely felt neglected by authorities in the run-up to this week’s power outage.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Source: Matthew Green of KQED.org

5. UPS to expand fleet of drones to hospitals across the country

United Parcel Service will begin transferring medical samples and devices between facilities at Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health, among other hospitals, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, UPS announced Oct. 21 that it will work with Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente to evaluate how the drones move medical supplies between that health system’s 39-hosptial network. 

UPS, which won Federal Aviation Administration approval for its fleet of drones to deliver healthcare supplies earlier in October, also signed an agreement with CVS to analyze prescription deliveries made via drone.

By reaching the CVS deal, UPS’s drone unit could transition from business-to-business transactions into consumer deliveries, company officials told WSJ. UPS also announced Oct. 21 that it is working with AmerisourceBergen. Drones will begin to deliver some pharmaceuticals, supplies and records from AmerisourceBergen’s warehouse to hospital facilities.

UPS kicked off its drone delivery service for medical supplies in March, partnering with Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health & Hospitals. Since transporting supplies via drone, the health system has cut delivery time to three minutes compared to 19 minutes.

To solidify itself in the healthcare market, UPS also announced Oct. 21 that it has created a digitally enabled healthcare network, known as UPS Premier. The product portfolio will focus on using sensors and tracking technology to handle medical supplies.

Source: Mackensie Garrity of Becker’s Hospital Review

6. ‘Healthcare can’t wait’ – Expert insights on streamlining the supply chain

Supply chain hiccups in healthcare can be more consequential than supply chain issues in other industries. Patient care is time sensitive and if providers don’t have access to the necessary medications and products, care outcomes can suffer.

During a Sept. 18 webinar sponsored by Cardinal Health and hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review, two Cardinal Health executives — Scott Barnhart, president of global manufacturing and supply chain, and Sean Halligan, senior vice president of supply chain — discussed how to reduce friction in the healthcare supply chain and the importance of complying with new regulations.

Speed throughout the order, delivery and returns procedures is what supply chain leaders strive for, however it can be challenging to consistently provide fast and efficient delivery of products throughout the U.S., particularly in rural areas.

To continue reading the article, click here.

Source: Alan Condon of Becker’s Hospital Review

7. New online webPOISONCONTROL digital triage poison center

In keeping with the times, the Poison Control Center now has an online option. webPOISONCONTROL is a web-based triage tool to guide people who may have been exposed to a poisonous substance through a series of questions to determine toxicity and needed treatment.

This is the first fully automated virtual poison center. Created in-part to meet the changing way the public accesses health information, the interactive tool guides you through specific exposure questions and patient details in the same way a call taker would.

Algorithms also list the expected minor symptoms and the symptoms which require further medical evaluation, specify home treatment where appropriate, define the onset and duration of symptoms, and set a risk window beyond which significant toxicity is unlikely if clinical manifestations have not already begun.

The logic, algorithms and recommendations powering the tool are written by board certified toxicology experts, each with decades of experience in poison control. webPOISONCONTROL is also available as an app for both Android and iPhone.

The mobile app has the added feature of product barcode scanning, saving some time for people who need fast answers and have the product packaging nearby.

As always, people can call the Poison Control call center toll-free at 1-800-222-1222.


8. SHEA: Study finds major problems with PPE doffing

For years, infection control experts have warned that improper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) when dealing with patients who have highly contagious illnesses can lead to trouble.

Now, there appears to be evidence that those experts were right, as a clinical study has found evidence of healthcare workers (HCW) who have been contaminated because of improper practice—even while following CDC guidelines.

According to a report published in the Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, a journal from The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, researchers found that more than a third (39%) of the 125 HCWs observed acquired a multidrug-resistant organism during a patient encounter. About 95 patients were studied, all of whom were on contact precautions for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci, or multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacilli.

To continue reading the article, click here.

Source: John Palmer of Hospital Safety Center