Working in tandem with western Pennsylvania hospitals, the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) recently participated in a large-scale regional exercise involving 50 hospitals across 18 counties to assure emergency preparedness in a two-day program.
The drill focused on a trio of related potential scenarios subsequent to hypothetical cyber-attack on the region’s electric power grid, primarily involving loss of power and, significantly, with the added twist of theoretical maximum patient capacity based on an influenza outbreak — and complex weather conditions to boot.
“HAP developed this preparedness exercise to challenge health care facilities’ ability to maintain awareness of evolving events and manage them effectively,” Fred Peterson, HAP’s southwestern Pennsylvania regional manager for emergency preparedness, said. “More so than a test, this was an all-around learning experience — for hospitals, community partners and all others involved.”
With authorities from the National Weather Service, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Continuity of Operations planning specialist, experts effectively achieved a “true-to-life” scenario.
“The U.S. has experienced the detrimental effects that damaging, adverse weather conditions can have on a community,” Scott Sherry, HAP’s northwestern Pennsylvania regional manager for emergency preparedness, said. “Inclement weather is inevitable, so ensuring that hospitals are prepared for these events, and other issues that have the potential to impact care delivery, can only benefit our hospitals, patients and communities.”
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