Sometime next week, without advance notice, the state Department of Health (DOH) will hold an Interoperable Communications (IOC) drill for the entire state.
However, the drill will take place on a rolling basis in staggered stages. As mentioned previously, the IOC drill will be targeted to home care, hospice and other providers across the entire state; though voluntary, it can be used to fulfill federal and/or state requirements for agencies to hold emergency preparedness exercises.
The drill’s objectives are to:
- Demonstrate the ability to use a primary and back-up communication system (internet, including VOIP, radio, cellular and satellite phone) to communicate with coalition partners (local health departments, hospitals, EMS, emergency managers, and others); and
- Complete a Health Commerce System (HCS) Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) survey within the timeframe outlined in an Integrated Health Alerting and Notification System (IHANS) alert that will be sent to providers.
On the day of the drill, agencies will receive a cell phone, text and e-mail notification regarding an IHANS message that outlines the emergency scenario. It will direct recipients to their e-mail to access, complete and submit a HERDS survey.
If past practices are followed, the IHANS alert will be sent to some or all of the following home care and hospice individuals in the HCS Communications Directory, so agencies should ensure that those listings are up-to-date:
- 24/7 Facility Contact;
- Data Reporter;
- Director, Home Care Patients (Director, Patient Services for hospices);
- Emergency Response Coordinator;
- HPN Coordinator;
- Medical Director (for hospices only); and
- Director, Clinical Services (for hospices only).
So far, DOH has said that the scenario (“Crimson Contagion”) involves an outbreak of H7N9 influenza.
Last week, DOH hosted a webinar to provide further details on the drill; the materials are available here.
DOH has also made available an After Action Report (AAR) that must be completed if agencies want to use the drill in fulfilling the state and/or federal requirements (agencies should retain the AAR for at least three years). The AAR is available here.