A health system's response to Hurricane Sandy: An internal look at what went right
Background: With a death toll hitting 43 and 5 hospital closures, Hurricane Sandy was a Category 2 storm that ravaged NYC and Long Island during October 2012. The North Shore-LIJ Health System (NSLIJHS), consisting of 16 hospitals, 6,000 hospital and long-term care beds, and 46,000 employees including 9,400 physicians, faced the storm. NSLIJHS assembled its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at our Center for Emergency Medical Services, created in 2000 and the largest hospital emergency services operation on the East Coast, to protect patients, facilities and employees. The following describes how a large health system utilized its modified hurricane preparedness plan. Methods: Seven days prior to the storm's arrival, potential harm from Tropical Storm Sandy was identified and EOC was opened. The Severe Weather Evacuation Plan, a 7 stage plan based on the expected time of landfall, was initiated and a storm tracking tool was utilized. Results: With extensive preparation, NSLIJHS had no hospital or affiliated nursing home closures and 96% of physician practices reopened after 2 days. NSLIJHS assisted the community by taking in a total of 200 transfers and moving 673 patients from local and regional hospitals and nursing homes. Conclusion: NSLIJHS was able to maintain a functioning hospital system and aid local facilities throughout Hurricane Sandy. This can be credited to the health system's disaster preparedness efforts. This should prompt other health systems to institute and improve upon similar plans with the goal of reducing hospital and ambulatory closures, minimizing unnecessary patient transfers and focusing on patient care.
Administration, management, leadership
Design an effective disaster preparedness plan that will maintain a functioning health system
Keyword(s): Disasters, Hospitals
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the medicine chief resident involved in the preparedness effort of the department of medicine residency program and have worked with the director and chief officer in analyzing the emergency preparedness plan of North Shore-LIJ Health System
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.