Formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Powered for Patients is working closely with public health preparedness leaders, emergency managers, utilities, healthcare facility managers and power generation industry leaders to help safeguard backup power and expedite power restoration for critical healthcare facilities. Powered for Patients is also working with these and other stakeholders to help address the needs of at-risk citizens dependent on electric-powered medical equipment during prolonged power outages.
The success of Powered for Patients has come in large part from the initiative’s ability to bring critical public and private sector stakeholders together for vitally important discussions and much needed collaboration. Funding for the initial Powered for Patients Stakeholder Meeting was provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), through a cooperative agreement with the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). Other federal agencies participating in the meeting included CDC, FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Energy.
Powered for Patients has since received funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through a grant provided to the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency that enabled the launch of a stakeholder engagement initiative that culminated in the production of Protecting Patients When Disaster Strikes, a Playbook on safeguarding emergency power and expediting power restoration.
Powered for Patients has also worked closely with the American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), a personal membership group of the American Hospital Association. The two organizations published Roadmap to Resiliency in 2017, a white paper detailing the advanced technologies available to safeguard emergency power.
In September 2018, the Department of Homeland Security awarded a competitive $300,000 Security and Resilience Challenge contract to Powered for Patients and a technology partner, Talus Analytics, to develop a powerful new situational awareness tool prototype that provides real time, automated alerts when emergency power is threatened during power outages. These alerts enable accelerated government and utility response to support a stricken facility. Additional funding will enable the prototype to be completed and deployed across the U.S.
In the interim, Powered for Patients began development of the P.I.O.N.E.E.R. Tool to provide the same type of real time emergency power threat reports using a different technology process. P.I.O.N.E.E.R. stands for Power Information Needed to Expedite Emergency Response.
In May 2019, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency executed a contract with Powered for Patients to lead a multi-phase emergency power resilience initiative focused on critical healthcare facilities that will span a four-year period. This initiative was launched to help ensure that Los Angeles County and its municipalities, along with its electric utilities and critical healthcare facilities, are employing best practices in minimizing threats to emergency power and expediting government, utility and private sector response when threats to emergency power arise during power outages.
In September 2019, FEMA enlisted Powered for Patients’ Project Director Eric Cote to author an addendum Toolkit to a FEMA Guidance document that provides a deeper look at emergency power resilience issues. The Toolkit provides guidance and resources to state, local, tribal and territorial governments as well as facility managers and utility companies for use before, during and after disasters. Stakeholders using this Toolkit will learn how to minimize threats to emergency power at critical healthcare facilities and expedite government and utility responses when emergency power is threatened.
In 2020, Powered for Patients partnered with the Electric Infrastructure Security Council (EISC) to create the Power Resilience Blueprint for America, a COVID-inspired plan to address immediate and longer-term threats to emergency power. The Blueprint highlights the risks facing patients in single-generator hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that suffer emergency power failures during a power outage, a life-threatening emergency for patients depending on ventilators. The Blueprint also addresses the likely shortage of emergency power assets in a catastrophic disaster that would force rationing of limited resources among critical infrastructure sectors.
After finalizing development of the P.I.O.N.E.E.R. Tool, Powered for Patients began deploying this powerful resource in the fall of 2020 through an initiative with the Los Angeles County EMS Agency. P.I.O.N.E.E.R. will be deployed to all single generator hospitals in Los Angeles County and a number of sub-acute skilled nursing facilities deemed most at risk for Public Safety Power Shutoffs. The initiative is funded by the LA County EMS Agency using a portion of its Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) funding provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.