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September 30, 2020

Northeast Ohio Hospitals, Partners Busy with Emergency Preparedness and Response Work



Emergency-Preparedness-and-Response-WorkWhile COVID-19 has been a focal point of emergency preparedness and response work over the last six months, it isn’t the only thing keeping The Center and its partners busy. Just this month, hospitals and partner organizations prepared for the presidential debate and participated in a regional pediatric surge exercise, and The Center launched a new website specifically for planning partners.

Presidential Debate

While the television cameras were focused on the two candidates for president, behind the scenes a significant amount of planning had gone into ensuring the city was prepared for hosting this week’s debate. In the fashion of the Republican National Convention of 2016, plans were dusted off, meetings called, tabletop exercises completed, and a thorough plan for event medicine and strict security measures unfolded in Northeast Ohio hospitals during the days and weeks leading up to the event.

Local hospitals activated their command centers and all partners and neighboring hospitals planned their coordination and communication to the smallest detail. This included reporting on bed availability and mass casualty capabilities along with the use of a patient tracking system to assist patient distribution if that had been needed. As part of the City Emergency Operations Center, The Center for Health Affairs was poised to coordinate regional hospital activity from before the debate on Monday until the all clear was sounded after the event on Tuesday. As always, the hospitals worked together with local, state and federal partners to plan for this event and to ensure its success.

Regional Pediatric Surge Exercise

The Eastern Great Lakes Pediatric Consortium for Disaster Response, comprised of pediatric hospitals in Ohio and Michigan, held a virtual exercise on Sept. 10 to test plans for managing a surge in pediatric patients. Hosted by the University of Michigan, the exercise counted more than 500 participants, including many in Northeast Ohio. The exercise is part of the grant-funded initiative led by Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital to establish a Pediatric Disaster Care Center of Excellence. The day started with pediatric education for the participants and included updates from public health officials on COVID-19 response with a pediatric focus. After reflecting on lessons learned during the spring COVID-19 surge, participants then moved into break-out groups where their discussions pivoted toward anticipation of a flu season compounded by COVID-19 and severely affecting children. Feedback on the exercise has been overwhelmingly positive and there are plans to conduct at least one more drill on a smaller scale to support the deployable teams and telehealth components of the grant.

New Website for HCC Members

The Center for Health Affairs this month launched a new website exclusive to members of the Northeast Ohio Healthcare Coalition (HCC). The HCC spans five counties – Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain – and includes all public and nonprofit organizations that receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and participate in emergency response planning. The new website, developed by Tracy Pate, HCC readiness and response coordinator for The Center, is designed to support communication among coalition members, including the sharing of response plans, meeting information and workgroup activities.

For more on The Center’s regional emergency preparedness and response work, contact us.

TWEETABLE: Northeast Ohio hospitals and partners were busy this month with emergency preparedness and response work, including prep for the presidential debate in Cleveland.

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