May 17, 2021 | | Comments 0
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Take me to your leaders…

I believe that we’ll be able to wrap up the emergency management stuff next week—though I have one or two ideas percolating that I might move to the front of the queue, but certainly before May gives way to June (unless something really interesting pops up out of nowhere…).

With our friends from Chicago returning to the playing field, there was some discussion of a modification to the session with organizational leadership, primarily involving moving the session to the opening of the survey and to have that session focus on leadership’s involvement with response to the pandemic over the last little while. The exact rationale for this strategy (which has since, more or less, gone away) kind of escapes me because I really don’t think the last 12-15 months could have been successfully navigated without some level of interest/action/participation, etc., on the part of hospital leadership teams pretty much everywhere on the globe. That said, I do suspect that the level of interest in all things emergency preparedness have probably not been as widely appreciated as they are right now (soon we will chat about making the most of this moment—but that’s for another day).

At any rate, with the unveiling of the new guidance (I don’t know that there’s necessarily anything “new” that’s going to come out of any of this, but I guess we’ll have to see, but this seems more like a recapitulation or codification than it does a significant change), there continues to be a concerted aim towards clarifying the necessity of organizational leadership participating in the emergency preparedness activities as a baseline expectation (an expectation I think we’ve all shared, yes?). Again, from a practical standpoint, your hospital, in all likelihood, would not have endured the last little while without the active participation/interest/whatever you care to call it from your leadership group. If someone managed to do so (and that doesn’t mean in spite of their participation), I’m keen to hear that story. But in the infinite wisdom of the regulatory monarchy, the following topics of conversation could be raised during any survey event in which leaders are queried about their EM roles:

  • How did the organization encourage collaborations with the available coalitions (local/regional/state: remembering that community partners are defined by each organization)?
  • How did the organization prepare for and manage staffing?
  • How did the organization prepare for and manage evacuation (including planning for the evacuation of patients that do not wish to be evacuated)?
  • How did the organization ensure that communications are collaborative and align with the methods/structures, etc., of the AHJs in the mix?
  • How did the organization promote participation in exercises and engage in the after action report process?
  • How did the organization ensure ongoing preparedness in the face of changes/shifts in community or other partners?
  • How did the organization identify what services would be provided under what circumstances?
  • How did the organization align continuity of operations and business continuity (we’ve had plenty of opportunity to look at this, I would think)?
  • How did the organization effectively manage the delegation of authority, including succession planning considerations?

In almost any other point in modern history, it might have proven to be somewhat burdensome to bring leaders up to speed in advance of a survey, but I can’t imagine that there are too many leadership groups out there that wouldn’t have more than enough practical experience (even if they never completed IS-100 and IS-200). Going forward, I think it’s going to be really helpful to keep the last year in everyone’s heads as a function of how we manage preparedness. It’s not just about regulatory compliance—it’s ensuring that providing care in a safe setting continues to be the number one priority of emergency response.

Hope you all are healthy and staying safe. Somehow I get the sense that we’re not quite done with this (though I would be more than happy to be proven incorrect in that sense), but we will prevail! See you next week!

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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