The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition was first established in 2002 as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks. After the attacks, the federal government sought ways to ensure hospitals in the United States were better prepared to respond to disasters and to become more resilient. The coalition was first established as the Northwest Region Hospital Emergency Management Committee. The coalition is made up of members from Hospitals, Long-Term-Care facilities, Local Public Health Districts, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, and other healthcare organizations. The coalition works collaboratively to plan for, prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural or man-made disasters resulting in health emergencies. The Northwest Region has a primary and alternate Regional Healthcare Coordination Center (RHCC) that acts as the coordination point among the Northwest regional healthcare organizations and other local and state partners.
Prior to 2013, the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition was focused on hospital emergency preparedness as a requirement of the Hospital Preparedness Program Grant which continues to provide funding for the healthcare coalitions. As time has progressed, so too has the evolution of the healthcare coalition. The coalition began offering training and exercise opportunities for Long Term Care facilities in 2013 as a way of assisting other healthcare organizations become better prepared.
The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition has expanded its role in emergency preparedness with the release of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers, commonly referred to as the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule. The CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule requires 17 different types of healthcare facilities to become better prepared for disasters and more resilient. The coalition staff offers education and training opportunities, exercise participation, and assistance with planning and preparing for disasters related to healthcare. The coalition staff comprise of the Regional Coordinator, the Regional Healthcare Coordination Center (RHCC) Manager, the Medically Vulnerable Populations (MVP) Coordinator, and the Exercise and Training Coordinator. The coalition is in the process of recruiting a Clinical Advisor to provide clinical support to healthcare organizations as they develop and revise plans related to emergency management. Each of these staff members work with the partners that are identified under the Partners header as a way to improve collaboration. Through this collaborative process, we aim to ensure the healthcare organizations are better prepared.