Florida, which has a lot of experience with hurricanes, has found a way to improve the coordination of healthcare services in such events.
During hurricane Jeanne last year, a representative from a local hospital was added to the healthcare staff brought into the emergency operations centers (EOC) in the affected areas.
The position was so effective that Florida has made it a recommended best practice for other county EOCs, and it’s likely to become a model for other states as well.
The EOC teams are responsible for coordinating resources, including FEMA funding and water and power restoration, after the storm. In Brevard County, which was struck last year by hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne, either a school or epidemiological nurse filled the healthcare post in the past.
“Now hospitals finally have a voice in the EOC,” says Jim Kendig, vice president for safety and security for Health First, a three hospital healthcare system in the county.