Emergency Preparedness Update for September 21, 2020

Situation Report | September 21, 2020

In a meeting with the state Department of Health (DOH) Office of Health Emergency Preparedness (OHEP), HCA and association partners conducted a “hotwash” of experiences relayed so far from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

A “hotwash” includes a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of an agency or organization’s response to a recent event.

HCA raised the following challenges:

  • Inadequate, conflicting or absent state guidance for home care and hospice providers.
  • The state’s withholding of Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) survey data, which is needed for situational awareness.
  • The unclear role of local and state emergency management in distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to providers.
  • Lack of communication between state and local health departments on the roles and responsibilities of home care and hospice providers.

Additional issues raised by the other associations included: a lack of PPE; little recognition of essential personnel status for home care and hospice to obtain PPE or permissibly/freely travel in fulfillment of patient care duties during the pandemic and periods of civil unrest; a need for auditing of agencies to be aware of regulatory flexibility granted by state and federal governments; and a need for DOH to implement federal regulatory flexibility measures; and more.

HCA, the New York State Association of Health Care Providers and the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of NYS receive a grant from OHEP on work to educate and bolster involvement of the home care and hospice community in emergency preparedness initiatives, drills, training and partnerships. These meetings with OHEP are a core part of that initiative.