244989 Continuity Planning and Preparedness: An assessment of Mental Health Provider Agencies

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM

Sarah J. Powell, MA , Public Health Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Alice Hausman, PhD, MPH , Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Adele Hobbs, MPH , Department of Urology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
Haley Singer, BA , Center for Preparedness Research Education and Practice (CPREP), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
As part of a program to meet local, state, and national emergency planning requirements, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) partnered with Temple University's Center for Preparedness Research Education and Practice (C-PREP) to assess preparedness levels and emergency planning activity among contracted agencies that serve the mentally ill. Many agencies serving this vulnerable population have residential programs, so participating individuals are dependent on agency preparedness and planning at the time of an emergency event. C-PREP identified 57 behavioral health provider agencies in the city network and were able to interview 36 (63%) regarding current levels of preparedness activity and planning. Identified gaps in agencies' planning were addressed by providing resiliency-based Personal and Family Preparedness Trainings for staff, Continuity of Operations trainings and workshops, Resource Guides, and opportunities for building additional Disaster Mental Health capacity through training in specific interventions. Survey results showed that funding constraints, recent budget cuts, staffing shortages, and varying levels of agency executive management support yielded a wide range of levels of preparedness and planning. Some agencies have a fairly robust agency disaster plan, but a full 50% (N=18) of the agency identified Planners interviewed had no knowledge of any Continuity of Operations plan for their agency. Only 11% (N=4) practiced their Continuity Plan on a regular basis. The significance of the survey findings includes the identified gaps in provider agency resource allocation for planning and the enormous need for planning and preparedness support for agencies serving vulnerable populations.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the importance of robust emergency planning for agencies serving vulnerable populations, such as the mentally ill. Identify 3 primary barriers to resource allocation in support preparedness and planning efforts Identify strategies for an over-taxed non-profit system to bolster emergency planning at the administrative and agency levels.

Keywords: Mental Health, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary director for this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental health workforce
See more of: Mental Health