As the newly hired Vice President (VP) of quality and safety for a full-service 600-bed government healthcare organization, I would like to bring to the CEO’s attention the knowledge of the fact that there is a likely, explicit, and an imminent terrorist threat against the United States and that our health facility may be directly impacted. Therefore, there is a need to reevaluate the facility’s preparedness in the event of the occurrence of the looming security threat, which may lead to increased emergency traffic to the facility. Driven by this concern, I would like to bring to your attention some of the necessary considerations that I have adopted to guarantee quality service delivery during the disaster period based on the assumption that the threat will not destroy the medical facility’s infrastructure and equipment.
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Procedure Related to Ten (10) Essential Public Health Services
The healthcare facility has the obligation to diagnose and investigate various health problems coupled with hazards in the community. In this effect, the hospital communication personnel have been instructed to ensure ardent communication to the surrounding communities and beyond concerning the preparedness of the facility in receiving and treating casualties in the event of a threat occurrence without any discrimination, irrespective of the victims’ ability or inability to pay.
Secondly, the essential public health service procedures require any health facility to mobilize community partnerships to help in identifying and resolving health problems (Center for Disease Control, 2014). To this extent, communities have been sensitized about the threat. They have been requested to participate actively in the recovery process by helping to avail their directly affected loved ones to the hospital for any emergency diagnosis and treatment. In case the worst occurs whereby the medical facilities will be interfered with by the threat, the amenity is committed to linking people to its healthcare staff to guarantee care delivery through other hospitals. The facility’s ambulances with their onboard medical facilities will be deployed for this purpose.
Fourthly, the communities are assured of the availability of reliable and competent healthcare workforce at the facility to take charge of emergencies arising from the disaster. All causalities alongside their loved ones are encouraged to provide adequate information to a team of dedicated medical practitioners to facilitate quick emergency care to minimize the possibility of occurrence of deaths, which would otherwise be avoidable.
The Principal Effects of the Four identified Procedures
The four procedures are aimed at achieving three main goals. They are anticipated to achieve the outcome of policy development, assurance, and assessment that are necessary for ensuring adequate response to events that may lead to increased demand for healthcare services. Diagnosis and investigation are critical in the assessment stage of healthcare delivery in response to any threat to community health. In the case of the imminent threat, this stage is necessary when it comes to facilitating timely identification coupled with the investigation of the impact of the threat on the community’s health. Since I have already received reliable information concerning the possibility of the terrorist threat, the medical facility remains committed to using the principle of assessment to ensure timely response to the various plans of addressing the hospital’s risk preparedness. Communities are highly assured of the availability and commitment of the health facility’s proficient healthcare workforce to delivering culturally competent and responsive services to all the affected people.
In the realization of the third procedure, we recognize that ardent response to an imminent threat whose danger to community health may not be estimated, the mobilization of community partnerships is inevitable (Center for Disease Control, 2014). For example, the disaster may overpower the medical facility’s reserves such as the blood bank’s supply capacity. Therefore, people are put on notice to respond urgently, should any demand or critical replenishments emerge.
Patient Evaluation as stipulated by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) during the Emergency
In the event of emergencies, EMTALA places stringent requirements for any medical facility, including my health care center that accepts funding from Medicaid and Medicare. It requires our emergency department to offer medical screening examination (MSE) to all people who seek treatment for any medical condition. The screening should be done, irrespective of the individual’s capacity to pay, his or her legal status, or citizenship. Consequently, in the event of the occurrence of the imminent threat, the emergency department has no legal grounds to turn away patients. This awareness makes it incredibly important to evaluate patients during the disaster as stated in the EMTALA Act for the hospital not to run out of resources. Such evaluation is necessary since it allows referrals to be made to other hospitals at a threshold level.
Measures to Maintain the Electronic Medical Record System during the Emergency
Electronic medical records help in organizing patients’ health check history, medications, names of providers, health condition, and contact information among others (Muhammad, Telang, & Marella, 2015). To maintain electronic health records during the disaster, I seek to establish a partnership with HIM professionals to guarantee the provision of personal wellbeing data to consumers before the imminent threat occurs. This plan underlines the second important measure, which involves ensuring that customers have the knowledge about the development coupled with maintenance of personal health records (PHRs), including the merits of maintaining patient portals. These two strategies are crucial in ensuring that patient medical records and any other data are available even when the disaster strikes. Thirdly, the internal patient backup data storage system will be relocated to an area where the terrorist threat is not anticipated. Even if the hospital infrastructure will be affected, this move will ensure that patients’ data is still available through a network of servers.
Health Insurance as a Source of Income for the Hospital during Disasters
In the event that the imminent threat occurs, the immediate response entails pre-hospital care through ambulatory services (Shoaf, 2014). However, I strongly believe that such care cannot be sufficiently competent without an effective and responsive hospital service as the main entry point following a disaster. Ambulatory care would not segregate injured people in terms of their health insurance. Hence, it is also important to ensure that hospital-based care does not also allow discrimination to ensure effective response (Shoaf, 2014). Therefore, accepting health insurance as a source of income for the hospital during the disaster is incredibly important. In support of this position, a terrorist attack may expose people to dangers that may negatively influence their capability to live healthy lives with some situations becoming fatal immediately or later in life if adequate response is not provided, irrespective of their capability to pay. In preparation for the imminent threat, the facility has the obligation of monitoring and/or assessing the health of the populations coupled with communities that are likely to experience the imminent risk of terrorist attack. Secondly, it must formulate policies that aim to guarantee sufficient resolution of the identified attack. One such policy will be the acceptance of health insurance for people who experience the disastrous situation not to be secluded from access to health care with the objective of ensuring their prolonged life. Thirdly, we need to assure that all people will have access to cost-effective and appropriate care during the disaster. Such assurance will be impractical without the acceptance of their health insurance as a possible way of promoting income flow for the health facility during the disaster.
Effect of the Emergency on the Quality of Care provided to the Patients and the Unimpeded Operation of the Organization
Currently, the facility has the capacity of admitting 600 patients. However, we can still provide emergency gazebos from where patients can be treated, especially those who will not experience any life-threatening injuries. Nevertheless, resource supply, especially the medical staff, is fixed. Consequently, the quality of care may be impaired by the imminent threat in case the facility receives casualties beyond the capacity of the medical personnel. Where such situations occur, a possibility of burnout among the staff may be hard to eliminate. The influx of patients alongside their loved ones may also create congestion within the facility. This situation may lower the quality of air circulation, thus creating the possibility of new infections within the facility.
Following the threat of terrorist assault in America, as the VP of quality and safety at the 600-bed capacity government healthcare facility, which may be directly affected by the attack, I look forward to ensuring full preparedness when it comes to responding to the disaster. Such preparedness calls for strategies that will ensure continuity of care even where the facility’s capacity to provide quality services may be compromised. To this extent, strategies such as ensuring the safety of patients’ electronic health records are inevitable. The utilization of health insurance as a possible mechanism for enhancing income flow is also important in the effort to ensure that all the affected communities access quality medical care.
Center for Disease Control. (2014). The 10 essential public health services: An overview. New York, NY: CDC.
Muhammad, H., Telang, R., & Marella, W. (2015). Electronic health records and patient safety. Communications of the ACM, 58(11), 30-32.
Shoaf, K. (2014). Organizing the health sector for response to disasters. Web.