November 4 – 10, 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

Preparedness, Resilience, and Response Edition

The HPH Sector Highlights – Preparedness, Resilience, and Response Edition is a weekly email produced by the HHS ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) on behalf of the HPH Sector Partnership. It provides updates on healthcare and public health critical infrastructure resources, tools and events related to preparedness, resilience, and response.

November is National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Awareness Month

November 1 marks the start of this year’s Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. Throughout the month of November, the Department of Homeland Security will be showcasing various resources and tools that can empower individuals and organizations to contribute to the security and resilience of the nation’s most essential services and functions—things like instant access to energy; safe, clean drinking water; reliable healthcare and transportation; agriculture that supplies plentiful food year around; and even chemicals that are the building blocks of everything from plastics to electronics to fuel. Each week, a different theme of information will be shared through a month-long social media campaign. These themes will include:  

  • Managing risk to a converging cyber and physical world
  • Protecting our hometowns: Soft target security
  • Securing the American Democracy: Election security 2020
  • Secure from the inside out: Combating insider threats

For more information on Infrastructure Security Month, please visit the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website; where you can find a toolkit with ideas for getting engaged, as well as downloadable graphics for your website and other communications. 

Follow CISA on Twitter @CISAgov or @CISAHarrell, retweet them and through your own social media, and join the conversation at #InfrastructureResilience.

FDA Drug Shortage Report Release

On behalf of the inter-agency Task Force, the FDA issued a report, “Drug Shortages: Root Causes and Potential Solutions,” that attempts to identify root causes and offer recommendations for government and industry based on insights gleaned from stakeholders in the private and public sectors. These recommendations are intended to help prevent and mitigate future drug shortages. The report focuses on human drugs, but many of the same concerns apply to veterinary medicines used to treat service, companion, and food-producing animals. Below you can find a link to the report and an executive summary of the report. 

“Drug Shortages: Root Causes and Potential Solutions”

Executive Summary of “Drug Shortages: Root Causes and Potential Solutions” 

FEMA Releases ESF-14 Framework

In support of FEMA’s Strategic Plan, the agency is pleased to announce the release of the “National Response Framework, Fourth Edition,” and theEmergency Support Function #14 – Cross-Sector Business and Infrastructure Annex.” Both documents incorporate lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane and wildfire season.

FEMA will be hosting a series of one-hour webinars to describe the updates and answer participants’ questions. These webinars are intended for the whole community, including individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.

To download the documents and view the full webinar schedule, please visit Advance registration is required for the webinars and admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Captioning will be available for each webinar.

Please direct all questions to

New Resources Available from ASPR TRACIE

What’s New with ASPR TRACIE

Resource Available— Updated Opioids FAQs

The ASPR TRACIE Opioids: FAQs document has been updated to include most recent data and new resources.

Resource Available—Technical Assistance Responses

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Quality, Safety & Oversight Group provided a response to a request regarding the long term care facility annual training requirement in the CMS EP Rule.

Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) and Pediatric Clinic Resources. This ASPR TRACIE TA response includes emergency operations plans and other planning resources specific to OB/GYN and pediatric clinics.

Resources Available- Refreshed Topic Collection

Check out the newly refreshed ASPR TRACIE Volunteer Management Topic Collection!

Resources from the Field

This Communicating in a Crisis: Risk Communication Guidelines for Public Health Officials guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can help health officials (and others responsible for communicating to the public before, during, and after a crisis) prepare their messaging to ensure it is actionable and received effectively by the public. This resource can be found in the ASPR TRACIE Risk Communications/ Emergency Public Information and Warning Topic Collection.

This 2019 Deployment Readiness Guide from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) provides Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) leaders the tools to bolster their team capabilities.

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Update: Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products

CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments, and other public health and clinical stakeholders are investigating a national outbreak of electronic-cigarette (e-cigarette), or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).

About the Outbreak:

  • As of October 29, 2019, 1,888* cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and 1 U.S. territory.
    • Thirty-seven deaths have been confirmed in 24 states (as of October 29, 2019).
    • Latest outbreak information is updated every Thursday.

About Patient Exposure:

  • All EVALI patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
    • THC is present in most of the samples tested by FDA to date, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing products.
    • The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.

See CDC’s Lung Injury cases map and bar chart of dates of symptoms onset and hospital admission for Patients with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) for more details.

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

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. Proposed Illinois bill threatens to close Medline sterilization facility

A proposed bill in Illinois could prompt the closure of a Medline Industries sterilization facility in Waukegan, Ill., according to the Chicago Tribune.

House Bill 3888 was filed last month by Democratic Rep. Rita Mayfield of Waukegan after a report showed that Medline’s facility was emitting a cancer-causing chemical, ethylene oxide. The legislation would ban the use of the chemical for medical device sterilizers by 2021 and for hospitals by 2022.

Ethylene oxide is the most commonly-used chemical to sterilize medical devices, and Medline’s director of public affairs, Jesse Greenberg, told the Chicago Tribune that the company has historically captured and destroyed 99 percent of ethylene oxide emissions. There is currently no viable alternative to ethylene oxide, therefore banning the chemical would likely force the facility to close.

The 715 people who work at Medline’s Waukegan plant protested the bill Oct. 25, with several people telling the Chicago Tribune they’ve worked at the facility for decades and have never seen employees fall sick because of exposure to ethylene oxide. Medline is the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies in the world.

Closures of other sterilization plants this year have already prompted the FDA to warn of critical medical device shortages.

Read the full article here.

Source: Maia Anderson of Becker’s Hospital Review

2. New Google partnership brings self-driving car tech to hospital rooms

Google and artificial intelligence startup announced a partnership Oct. 24 to bring autonomous monitoring technology to hospital rooms to prevent avoidable falls, protocol breaches and other medical errors, and improve staff efficiency.

Each “Self-Aware Room” will be equipped with an AI sensor that combines’s machine learning platform and library of human behavioral data with Google’s Coral Edge Tensor Processing Unit. The Edge TPU enables the sensor to monitor behavior and send predictive alerts to staff in real-time, Chakri Toleti, founder and CEO, explained in a news release.

Additionally, the sensors’ deep neural networks continually “learn” and improve, and can identify strengths and weaknesses in clinician workflows, automatically improving accuracy and efficiency.

The companies have launched pilot programs with several hospitals and health systems across the U.S., including Maitland, Fla.-based post-acute care provider Consulate Healthcare.

Source: Andrea Park of Becker’s Health IT & CIO Report

Can anyone identify possible issues with this? Hint: cybersecurity related

3. Proactive Risk Assessments – Catch’em if you can

Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Time: 01:00 – 02:00 PM EDT
Duration: 1 hour

Save My Seat!

In Healthcare, the Problem Identification & Resolution processes spend much of its time working to reactively deal with problems that jump up and bite us and then mitigate those risks. Ideally, we would like to shift the balance to more proactive identification of safety and patient risks and catch problems before they cause harm.

But in reality, we all are constantly being pulled away from assessing future risks to deal with today’s problems. We work hard at our error reduction programs, data indicators, fall programs, medication safety programs etc., but are we really getting the most value from these efforts to proactively assess risks? Rather than thinking about Risk Assessment as a separate activity, what can we do to leverage our existing work to help us be more proactive in assessment of Risks?

This session will look at the three key parts of an effective Healthcare Risk Assessment program including:

• Finding and identifying risks
• Prioritizing the risks
• Developing effective mitigations

4. California Wildfires, Power Outages Are Disrupting Health Care

(TNS) — Healthcare leaders told The Bee that they are confronting a level of disruption to delivering care and running their businesses that they have never seen in their careers as a result of the California wildfires and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s planned blackouts.

“I actually have never experienced a power outage where we were on emergency generator backup for 40 hours or more,” said Dr. Brian Evans, the chief executive officer at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley. “We’ve had short-term disruptions, but typically it wasn’t one of these planned outages that lasted for quite some time. I would say, for me personally, it’s been a career first.”

Across California, wildfires and outages have forced healthcare providers to close hospitals and medical clinics, or greatly limit services. Both Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health evacuated their hospitals in Santa Rosa last weekend, the second time in three years the medical centers had to be abandoned as flames and fumes approached. At least eight nursing homes also had to evacuate, and state officials requested additional beds from assisted living facilities to accommodate senior citizens and feeble patients.

While people can readily understand the logistical difficulty of evacuating and then re-opening a hospital or other types of health care facilities, said Theresa Frei, the CEO of the Sutter Valley Medical Foundation, what often goes unnoticed is the impact the wildfires and the closures have on patients and providers. The stress of the Kincade Fire, coming two years after the Tubbs Fire, has taken a toll, she said.

Read the full article here.

Source: Cathie Anderson of The Sacramento Bee