Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

“Nursing homes and hospice providers face looming emergency preparedness deadline” – Modern Healthcare

by Steven Ross Johnson

“After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Amedisys decided it needed to upgrade its disaster plan. The national home healthcare and hospice provider began conducting risk analysis and factoring in local potential hazards to develop a plan to ensure staff and residents at its U.S. facilities could weather natural disasters. From this came several changes: greater coordination with first responders, regular drills and closer collaboration with other Medicare providers.

“The plan, which calls for sending disaster response teams to check in on patients at home and bringing them food, water and cleaning supplies, was implemented during last year’s floods in Louisiana. The plan helped keep Amedisys staff and residents safe.

“But now Amedisys and other providers like it are being asked to step up their efforts. Many of the nation’s healthcare providers are facing a deadline to implement new federal requirements that standardize how they handle natural disasters and terrorists’ threats.

“In September, the CMS finalized a rule requiring 17 types of healthcare providers to set new policies that result in better coordination with emergency personnel and frequent tests and adaptations of emergency plans.

“While most experts support the regulations, others worry that many facilities, … ”

Continue reading this article at Modern Healthcare, click here.

“Extreme Heat Message and Precautions | Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit, Get Involved” – Administration for Community Living

go kit

Summer is almost here. While we prepare to enjoy the warm weather, it’s important to take precautions in case extreme heat strikes.

By evaluating your needs, you can plan for any heat related situation.

The following steps will prepare you to handle periods of extreme heat and the associated risks:

  • Consider how potential power outages during periods of extreme heat might affect you. Plan to be temporarily self-sufficient if the electricity goes out. It’s possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or a pharmacy.
  • Identify the resources you use on a daily basis and what you can do if they are limited or not available. Make provisions for medications that require refrigeration, and plan arrangements to get to a cooling center, if needed.
  • Think about what you need to maintain your health, safety, and independence. Build A Kit that includes any specialized items such as extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, and medication. Also include non-perishable food and water, items for service animals and pets, a cooler, and anything else you might need.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, especially those who spend much of their time alone, or are more likely to be affected by extreme heat.
  • Be watchful for signs of heat stroke and dehydration. These include shallow breathing, a lack of perspiration, dizziness, dry mouth, and headaches.

The HHS emPOWER Map 2.0 features the monthly total of Medicare beneficiaries with electricity-dependent equipment claims at the U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code level to identify the areas and populations that may be impacted and at risk for prolonged power outages.

For more information about extreme heat preparedness and tools, go to ready.gov/heat and cdc.gov.

SOURCE: Administration for Community Living

Volunteer Actors Needed for Keystone 6 Exercise!

Volunteer Actors Needed for Keystone 6 Exercise!

Tuesday, August 15, 10am-1pm | Lunch provided

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is sponsoring an exercise and we need volunteers! This exercise is called Keystone 6 and is focused on mass care and sheltering during a large-scale disaster. The scenario is based on a large nuclear explosion in New Jersey that drives people to evacuate into Pennsylvania. We are testing our capabilities for opening state managed shelters at both Penn State University’s Harrisburg campus (Middletown) and Shippensburg University.

To see how we might accomplish this, we need people to serve as actors and go through the registration process at the shelter locations, as an evacuee might. We hope to have people with disabilities or other access and functional needs participate so we can practice how we would meet these needs in a real situation.

We promise you do not have to sleep on a cot! Lunch will be provided and you will also be provided information to assist you in forming your own emergency preparedness plan. No reimbursement is available for travel or time.

We need your help so we can best plan for the needs of all Pennsylvanians!

Interested individuals please contact Christine Heyser at cheyser@pa.gov  or 717-461-0389 with the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Preferred location: PSU Harrisburg or Shippensburg
  3. Special dietary needs for lunch, if any
  4. Optional: If you are a person with a disability or other access or functional need, would you be willing to briefly describe the need(s)?

“How prepared is your state (Pennsylvania) for a health emergency?” – STATNews Morning Rounds

health emergency

“A new assessment of the nation’s preparedness for a community health emergency paints a picture of deep regional disparities. The National Health Preparedness Index ranks countries and regions on a scale of how prepared they are to deal with a health security threat, like a Zika outbreak or a natural disaster. It takes into account everything from vaccination rates, to hazard plans at public schools, to the number of paramedics and hospitals available. Nationally, the US scores 6.8 on the 10-point scale; Vermont, at the top of the list, received a 7.8 for its health emergency preparedness while Alaska, sitting at the bottom, received a 5.9. The authors of the new report say it highlights where more work is urgently needed to prepare for an emergency.” – SOURCE: STATnews Morning Rounds

Governor Wolf Announces Emergency Proclamation, Travel Restrictions Ahead of Winter Storm

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency in anticipation of a significant winter snowstorm that will impact the state starting Monday evening through late Tuesday, and announced PennDOT and the Turnpike will restrict speeds on interstates and some large commercial vehicular travel. Governor Wolf also announced that PennDOT will strategically deploy additional assets to areas expected to be hardest hit by the storm, including the Northeast, Poconos and Lehigh Valley.

Governor Wolf and state agencies will provide an update on preparations for the impending winter storm at 3:30 p.m. today. The briefing will streamed live at https://governor.pa.gov/live/ or https://www.facebook.com/governorwolf/.

“State agencies continue to take proactive steps to ensure Pennsylvania is ready for the incoming winter weather and Pennsylvanians should take their own precautions and prepare for adverse conditions, especially for travel,” Governor Wolf said. “We are preparing for the most significant part of the storm to hit the Eastern half of the state from Monday night through Tuesday’s commute with significant winds to follow and cause additional concerns. I ask residents and commercial drivers across the commonwealth to prepare to avoid unnecessary travel on roadways during this time – as to let road crews and emergency responders do their jobs and minimize dangerous travel.”

This proclamation is not a ‘state of emergency,’ as it does not prohibit vehicular travel on commonwealth roads, but motorists are strongly encouraged to delay all unnecessary travel and heed local road closures that may be in place. A proclamation ensures emergency resources can be procured as needed and increases protections for consumers from price-gouging.

Travel Restrictions and PennDOT Resources

To help PennDOT and PA Turnpike crews get the optimum access to the interstates and expressways during the storm, beginning at 10 p.m. Monday, these restrictions will be in place on all interstates and expressways east of Interstate 99 and including Interstate 99:

  • 45 mph speed limit
  • Ban on tandem truck trailers, empty trailers, towed trailers, buses, recreational vehicles and motorcycles.

These restrictions will be in place on Interstates 70, 76, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 283, 176, 180, 476, 380 and all expressways not on the interstate system. The Turnpike will have the same restrictions beginning at 10 p.m. Monday from the Bedford Interchange east to NJ and on the entire Northeastern extension. PennDOT is also cancelling all superload permits for movement on Tuesday.

PennDOT has 4,800 equipment operators, more than 2,000 plow trucks, 49 snow blowers. All of PennDOT’s 11 regions will go on round-the-clock duty beginning Monday evening. PennDOT’s goal is to keep roadways passable and interstates and expressways take priority over lower volume routes.

PennDOT will also be redeploying assets to eastern Pennsylvania, where the brunt of the storm is forecast to hit. Three Mobile Equipment Teams will be dispatched. Each team consists of five plow trucks, 10 equipment operators and one supervisor. Teams are being dispatched from PennDOT’s northwestern Pennsylvania district to the Scranton area, from the Pittsburgh area district to Monroe County near Stroudsburg and from southwestern Pennsylvania to the Lehigh Valley area.

Proclamation of Disaster Emergency Impacts

The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary, to cope with the magnitude and severity of this emergency situation. The time-consuming bidding and contract procedures, as well as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation.

In addition, the proclamation authorizes the Department of Transportation to waive regulations related to drivers of commercial vehicles in order to ensure the timely movement of commodities, particularly food and home heating fuel.

It also provides consumer protections against price gouging by prohibiting companies from charging a price for consumer goods or services that exceeds 20 percent of the average price that the consumer goods or services were sold for in the 7 days preceding the effective date of the Governor’s proclamation.

In the event travel is absolutely necessary, motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles by visiting http://www.511PA.com. PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Locator plow tracking tool is available for all of the more than 2,200 PennDOT-owned and rented plow trucks, with vehicle locations viewable on 511PA.

SOURCE: news release

Friday Wrap-Up, February 10 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

This week’s Wrap-Up includes an impassioned lead article from the Secretary about her own take-aways following the Super Bowl and “tragic fire incidents that involve senior citizens.” Be sure to read the newsletter.

friday wrap-up 03-11-16Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

Click here to download the February 10 newsletter.

Do you know what to do if someone’s choking? What if it’s you?

choking

This article from The Reading Eagle, “Home remedies: when someone is choking”, is so important.

This is something that can happen anytime. You could be at a restaurant, a friend’s place or you could be alone.

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.”

This is an important article, too, because it shows the procedures that might save a life … maybe yours: wikiHow to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Yourself”

“A Dangerous Health Problem No One Talks About – The risk increases with age, but there are ways to prevent it” – next avenue

food sticking

 

 

 

 

PUC encourages consumer awareness of the Lifeline program; now available for voice & internet services.

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today encouraged consumers across the state to understand the resources available through the Lifeline program, which is used by nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians. Lifeline has now been expanded to include broadband internet service for low-income households, in addition to, or in combination with, landline or wireless voice telephone service.

“Lifeline is intended to help make communications more affordable and more accessible for low-income households, helping them stay connected to information about jobs, family, health care, schools and emergency services,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “It is essential that consumers understand the expanded options now available – including a variety of voice and internet services – and also make note of federal efforts to streamline the list of eligible assistance programs used to qualify for Lifeline.”

In an effort to increase awareness about the Lifeline program, the PUC developed a new informational brochure, “Stay Connected with the Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program.” Copies of the brochure can be obtained by calling the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 or downloading the information from the PUC website. Consumers also are encouraged to Continue reading →

“Free Webinar on Disaster Preparedness” – IlluminAge

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently unveiled new disaster preparedness requirements that affect more than 72,000 healthcare providers across the country – including nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and even home health agencies.

disaster

“After careful consideration of stakeholder comments on the proposed rule, this final rule requires Medicare and Medicaid participating providers and suppliers to meet the following four common and well known industry best practice standards.

1. Emergency plan: Based on a risk assessment, develop an emergency plan using an all-hazards approach focusing on capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters specific to the location of a provider or supplier.

2. Policies and procedures: Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the plan and risk assessment.

3. Communication plan: Develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with both Federal and State law. Patient care must be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers, and with State and local public health departments and emergency systems.

4. Training and testing program: Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial and annual trainings, and conduct drills and exercises or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.

SOURCE: CMS news release

IlluminAge will be holding a free webinar to discuss the resources we’re providing to facilities to help meet these new requirements. This include a checklist and video that tells you specifically what you’ll need and what tools are available to ensure your compliance.”

Click here to connect to the CMS Survey & Certification – Emergency Preparedness webpage.

 

Three Questions about Inclusive Emergency Preparedness for People With Disabilities

By Rohmteen Mokhtari and Meredith Raymond, Administration for Community Living (ACL) Office of External Affairs

dont-wait

“As National Preparedness Month comes to a close, we are reminded of the importance of making emergency planning efforts inclusive of people of all ages and abilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. ACL interviewed two disability community leaders working to ensure that people with disabilities are included in emergency preparedness efforts.

“Curt Decker is the Executive Director of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), a membership organization representing Protection and Advocacy Systems and the Client Assistance Programs for individuals with disabilities. Christy Dunaway is the Chair of Emergency Preparedness Sub-Committee of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). NCIL is a membership organization representing individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils and other organizations. NCIL and NDRN both have had Memoranda of Understanding with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC).

“What does an inclusive approach to emergency preparedness look like to you?”

Click here to continue reading this ACL blog post about preparedness.