CHA’s 10th annual Disaster Planning for California Hospitals,
held this week in Sacramento (see photo
gallery), enabled more than 750 attendees to affirm their
commitment to “Planning for today, tomorrow and beyond.” During
the three-day conference, hospital staff and state and county
health officials gathered to strengthen hospital disaster
preparedness and build collaboration to ensure continuity of
Attendees were captivated by the moving presentation of Dr.
Kimberly Glassman of NYU Langone Medical Center, who recounted
the closing of the hospital when the back-up generator died
during Superstorm Sandy, one of the most destructive hurricanes
in U.S. history. Dr. Glassman applauded the heroic efforts of
staff who safely evacuated 300 patients, including 20 neonatal
infants and 45 critical care patients.
Dr. Umair Shah of Harris County Public Health & Environmental
Services stressed the importance of developing Crisis Standards
of Care on a statewide and regional level. He encouraged
stakeholders to use the Institute of Medicine’s
(IOMs) Crisis Standards of Care Report and template to
drive those efforts and the accompanying difficult ethical
discussions and decisions. Dr. Shah served on
the IOM committee that developed the standards.
The conference concluded with the harrowing story of an
unprecedented burn surge incident in Taiwan that led to severe
burns of more than 500 young adults. Dr. Christina Catlett,
associate director, John Hopkins Office of Critical Event
Preparedness and Response, shared her experience leading a
medical team to assist with patients’ needs assessment and
offered practical guidance on how California hospitals can
prepare for a burn surge. She encouraged hospitals to considering
training staff in specialized burn care.
In addition, 20 breakout sessions highlighted a variety of topics
including Cal/OSHA’s impending workplace violence prevention
regulations; an update on The Joint Commission standards and the
top vulnerabilities for hospitals; a new incident tracking tool
developed by Kaiser Permanente; palliative care models for
triage; the devastating mudslide in Oso, Washington that resulted
in mass casualties; financial oversight practices; and strategies
for preparing for an EHR system failure.
During the pre-conference workshop, titled “Infectious Diseases:
Preparing for the Next Outbreak, What we Learned from Ebola,”
numerous presenters shared lessons learned from last year’s Ebola
outbreak, including Dr. Daniel Johnson of the University of
Nebraska Medical Center, the admitting physician for three
patients diagnosed with the Ebola virus. Dr. Robert Schooley with
UC San Diego gave an update on emerging infectious diseases.
Additionally, panelists from UC Davis Medical Center, Kaiser
Permanente South Sacramento, Sacramento County EMS,
Sacramento County Department of Public Health and the California
Department of Public Health reported on their experiences
coordinating care, testing and transporting four patients
suspected of having the Ebola virus.