Hospitals should consider MOUs with organizations that can provide them resources and services during emergencies and disasters. MOUs are established between hospitals, other healthcare providers and/or emergency response agencies to identify their agreements to collaborate, communicate, respond and support one another during a disaster or other public health emergency. Understandings regarding the incident command structure, patient and resource management, processes and policies in place for requesting and sharing of staff, equipment and consumable resources, as well as payment, are generally addressed in a local mutual aid MOU.
MOUs help hospitals demonstrate and document compliance with Joint Commission, State and Federal expectations for collaborative planning and disaster response. MOUs are also a documentation asset when seeking federal reimbursement through FEMA after a disaster.
MOUs are also used by hospitals to document agreements with other organizations and agencies to provide transportation, consumables (e.g., water, food), equipment, personnel and many other resources and services that may be needed during a disaster event. These MOUs help to document a hospital’s ability to respond and to sustain operations.
Examples include MOUs with:
Local hospitals for patient transfer, supplies, equipment, pharmaceuticals and personnel.
Local nurse registry agencies, temporary agencies, and security personnel providers
Other local healthcare providers including clinics and long term care facilities for personnel, supplies, equipment and transportation
Vendors and suppliers for healthcare and non-health care resources including linen and fuel
County government for services including transportation and security; for supplies; and for assistance in managing the treatment and transportation of staff and patients.
Third party payors to suspend lag time for payments
The mutual aid support concept is well established and is considered “standard of care” in most emergency response disciplines. The purpose of this mutual aid support agreement is to aid hospitals in their emergency management by authorizing the Hospital Mutual Aid System (HMAS). H-MAS addresses the loan of medical personnel, pharmaceuticals, supplies, and equipment, or assistance with emergent hospital evacuation, including accepting transferred