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The Center's Emergency Preparedness Program Highlights

Since grant inception in 2003, the Hospital Preparedness Program, administrated by The Center for Health Affairs' emergency preparedness program, has strategically focused on supporting the compliance of the Joint Commission's required emergency management standards for 25 hospitals in Northeast Ohio. The most important priorities established over the years include developing hospital emergency management programs, as well as regional healthcare networking and response coordination. A few of the most important planning factors in responding to an event that the region has undertaken are:


Internally, system-wide, regionally and statewide, communication is the most important initiative for all regional hospitals. The Center has facilitated the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) workgroup since the inception of the program following 9/11. Hospital personnel have developed a trust and respect for each other through The Center’s emergency preparedness program. The ability to communicate between hospital command centers regarding patient care, bed availability, patient tracking, resource allocation and infectious disease priorities takes precedence. All of the main department directors (lab, respiratory, security, safety, infection control, etc.) have been networked together. This allows for peer networking of hospitals in and out of the systems.

The Center has worked on behalf of Northeast Ohio hospitals to network extensively with other community partners such as emergency medical associations and public health departments, which increases communication capabilities and helps bring hospitals into a better light with these agencies.

Emergency Response Plans

The Center sits on the planning committees for the state, regional public health and local emergency management. The Center has led hospitals to develop a Regional Hospital Response Plan, Regional Surge Plans, Point of Dispensing Plans, Healthcare Coalition Preparedness and Response Plan as well as given input to local and state plans.

Training and Exercises

Federal and state trainings are brought into the region and all hospitals have the opportunity to attend. There has also been a contracted trainer, through the Emergency Nurse Association, that has brought the Trauma Nurse Corp Courses, Emergency Nurse Pediatric Courses, Advanced Burn Life Support Courses and Hospital Incident Command System Training to the region for nearly a decade.

All Northeast Ohio hospitals participate every year in at least one regional functional or full scale exercise to meet Joint Commission standards. Participants have input on the scenario selection and evaluation points needed to match a priority hazard. They utilize the regional after-action reports to write their own hospital after-action and improvement plans along with Joint Commission standards. The Center designs and coordinates the exercises specific to the hospitals in order to assure compliance with federal grant and Joint Commission standards.

Community Events

The Center supports community events by staffing the city and county Emergency Operations Centers and funneling situational awareness and reports to hospitals for planning purposes. By using online tools purchased through the grant, The Center provides up-to-date data to hospitals regarding bed and patient tracking status. During the 2016 Republican National Convention, The Center monitored the blood bank, hospital emergency departments, bed and staffing status as well as epicenter infectious disease emergency department visits for early recognition.

Contact us to learn more about The Center's Emergency Preparedness program.