From the NY Times: Can Health Care Providers Afford to Be Ready for Disaster? Some excerpts:
Despite repeated calls for change, however, and billions of dollars in disaster-related costs for health care providers, federal rules do not require that critical medical institutions make even minimal preparations for major emergencies, from hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes to bioterrorist attacks and infectious epidemics such as Ebola and Zika.
“We’ve had way too many circumstances where the results are catastrophic,” said Karl Schmitt, a former division chief for public health preparedness in Illinois and founder of the consulting firm bParati. “Preparedness doesn’t put heads in beds, and if it doesn’t put heads in beds, it doesn’t bring in revenue, so it’s not going to get the C.E.O.’s attention.”
That may soon change. Industry experts are awaiting release of a federal rule that would make emergency preparedness a condition for a wide range of health care institutions to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. More than 68,000 providers would potentially be affected, including hospitals, kidney dialysis centers, psychiatric treatment facilities, home health agencies and organ transplant procurement organizations. Among other steps, providers would be required to conduct regular disaster drills, have plans for maintaining services during power failures and create systems to track and care for displaced patients.