Community healthcare delivery post-Hurricane Sandy: Lessons from a mobile medical unit
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a deadly Atlantic tropical cyclone that swept across the U.S. East Coast in October of 2012, North Shore – LIJ (NSLIJ) Health System deployed a mobile health unit to New York's most significantly damaged areas including Queens County and Long Island. Leadership personnel from the NSLIJ Health System, one of the nation's largest health systems consisting of 16 hospitals, 300 ambulatory facilities and over 40,000 employees coordinated the medical relief effort. The team's objective was to provide immediate and short-term healthcare services to communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy using the mobile health unit. The project consisted of three phases: 1) a widespread community needs assessment to effectively allocate the health system's resources, 2) health professional outreach and 3) pre-deployment and on-going resource needs assessments to optimize the unit's functionality. Data from the mobile unit records was collected on 638 patients aged 3 months to 91 years evaluated over a 35-day deployment period from November 16th through January 10th, 2012. Vaccination requests were the most commonly encountered issue, and the most common chief complaint was upper respiratory illness. Medication and supply needs, community needs, operational expenses and staffing costs for deployment were compiled on an on-going basis. Through the mobile health unit effort the NSLIJ health system identified key features contributing to the success of the mission as well as obstacles, limitations and future challenges of mobile medical care. Lessons from the mission will contribute to improvements in future community healthcare delivery efforts.
Administration, management, leadership
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Provision of health care to the public
Identify key resources, methods and strategies to facilitate and optimize the initiation, organization, implementation and maintenance of a mobile health unit in a community-based health system to provide immediate and short-term healthcare to vulnerable populations affected by natural disaster.
Describe successful strategies as well as limitations, obstacles and future challenges in implementing a mobile health unit after natural disaster.
Keywords: Community Health Assessment, Disasters
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As former commissioner of health for Nassau County, New York I have worked on numerous state and federally funded community development projects. I am interested in developing programs and health policy initiatives to improve the care of seniors in the community. I am also interested in academic work to educate medical students, residents and fellow physicians in the practice of geriatrics and palliative medicine.
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.