During the March 2017 TEMS Board of Director’s meeting, Eastern Virginia Healthcare Coalition’s (EVHC) program manager Glenn McBride presented an overview of the coalition and the emergency preparedness capabilities they will be addressing during the next five-year federal hospital preparedness program (HPP) grant cycle.
"The HPP grant remains focused on collaborative medical response and communications capabilities during patient surge events, especially disaster," said McBride. "This upcoming grant also encourages expanded community engagement with emergency preparedness partners outside of the hospital setting, particularly with emergency medical services (EMS) and medical transport agencies as well as emergency managers from the 26 jurisdictions that make up the Eastern Virginia Healthcare Coalition. As a result, the EVHC is modifying membership in the upcoming grant cycle to include these valuable partners."
McBride explained the EVHC is responsible for the development, maintenance and operationalization of the Regional Healthcare Coordination Center (RHCC) which serves as the healthcare multi-agency coordination center in the region. The RHCC relies heavily on the Virginia Healthcare Alerting and Status System (VHASS) as the primary communication platform for all healthcare agencies in the region to maintain live facility status (patient status, beds status, fuels status, employee status, etc.) in both everyday practice, and in an emergency.
“Over the past year the 19 acute care facilities in the region, the 3 federal facilities, and the 3 stand-alone emergency departments had revitalized their daily efforts at maintaining accurate facility status in VHASS, particularly Emergency Department Diversion and Hospital Clinical Status,” said McBride.
He also said through routine exercises the hospitals' immediate response to simulated mass casualty or surge events has also improved dramatically. EMS leadership and supervisors are encouraged to use either the full VHASS website or the secure Hospital Diversion Status for their daily situational awareness of emergency department status and capacity to receive patients.
The presentation closed with highlights of numerous projects the EVHC has sponsored in the past. These projects resulted in strategic placement of cached medical surge supplies at regional hospitals, including Stabilize and Treat in Place (STIP) tents, decontamination tents, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and more. McBride also discussed the myriad of training opportunities sponsored by EVHC throughout the year and of the other services the EVHC offers to healthcare agencies within the eastern region. The EVHC training opportunities of interest to EMS providers are typically cross-posted on the TEMS training calendar and included in the TEMS Response News.