Powered for Patients and Florida Hospital Association Working with Multiple Stakeholders to Address Lessons Learned from Hurricane Irma and Past Disasters
The devastation caused by Hurricane Irma led to widespread and prolonged power outages across much of Florida. The tragic heat-related deaths of more than a dozen senior citizens at a Hollywood, FL nursing home which lost air conditioning after a portion of its building lost utility power triggered understandable outrage and criminal investigations.
Hurricane Irma’s impact on Florida’s electric grid provides an opportunity for elected officials, emergency managers and private sector leaders in Florida to step back and assess lessons learned around safeguarding emergency power and expediting power restoration for critical health care facilities.
To address lessons learned, Powered for Patients and the Florida Hospital Association have partnered to advance the Florida Emergency Power Initiative.
Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017 provide an opportunity to address a range of challenging policy and regulatory questions brought to light in the aftermath of these storms. Through the Florida Emergency Power Initiative, Florida can establish a blue print for the nation’s most advanced approach to managing threats to emergency power and expediting prioritized power restoration in future disasters.
The Initiative will explore how increased stakeholder collaboration and information sharing in future disasters can not only increase situational awareness of emergency power system status for government officials and utilities; but, also provide better information to impacted health care providers about response activities and best practices they can employ to better safeguard emergency power. Enhanced situational awareness and information sharing can accelerate decision making, expedite power restoration and hasten the deployment of critical resources to safeguard failing backup power systems. The Initiative will also explore how Florida can better address the needs of at-risk citizens relying on electric powered medical equipment in their homes.
Powered for Patients has a proven tool – a comprehensive playbook outlining protocols and best practices before, during and after disasters – to help improve the reliability of emergency power and accelerate government response and utility power restoration. The Florida Emergency Power Initiative will culminate with the development of one or more playbooks designed specifically for Florida communities or regions.
The Florida Initiative will also include a first-in-the-nation Pilot Study to assess the impact on patient safety when hospitals and other healthcare facilities voluntarily share real time generator status reports with government officials and utilities during times of disaster to increase situational awareness. This enhanced information sharing will rely on remote monitoring and automated reporting technology currently being used by a small but growing number of hospitals in Florida and across the nation.
Powered for Patients Project Director Eric Cote and Florida Hospital Association Director of Emergency Services John Wilgis will serve as the lead staff for the initiative.
The success of the initiative depends on the active participation of a wide range of public and private stakeholders. The following stakeholders have been invited to participate in the initiative:
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA)
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (HHS/ASPR)
- U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE)
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
- Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)
- Florida Department of Health (FDOH)
- Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
- Florida Public Service Commission
- County and local emergency management and public health preparedness officials
Private Sector (to include membership of trade associations)
- Florida Hospital Association (FHA)
- Florida Emergency Preparedness Association (FEPA)
- Florida Health Care Association (FHCA)
- Florida Health Care Engineering Association (FHEA)
- Florida Health Care Coalitions (HCCs)
- Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC)
- South Florida Hospital and Health Care Association (SFHHA)
- Florida’s utilities including investor owned, municipal owned and cooperatives
- Florida water systems and waste water treatment providers
- Dialysis centers and or associations representing them
- Generator service and fuel providers
- Providers of remote monitoring and automated reporting solutions for emergency power systems
Organizations interested in participating in the Initiative can contact Powered for Patients Project Director Eric Cote at firstname.lastname@example.org.