Introduction

Big Bend Healthcare CoalitionThe Big Bend Healthcare Coalition (BBHCC) was formed on January 14, 2014. This is in concert with federal guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Healthcare coalitions are formed across the nation in response to the need to better coordinate and leverage the resources and capabilities of all healthcare and support providers in preparing, responding, and recovering from disasters. DHHS/ASPR realized that major health related emergencies, such as an H1N1 outbreak, or Florida’s own experience with ten hurricanes between 2004-2005 required a more coordinated healthcare system that would form from collaborative relationships. They realized there is more synergy generated when healthcare and support agencies work together for a common purpose in a coordinated and collaborative fashion. This is also in concert with FEMA’s concept of “whole community”, which fosters a broader collaborative network of healthcare and support providers who can support the needs of their communities during a disaster.

The Big Bend Healthcare Coalition is comprised of healthcare and support partners working within the scope and function of Emergency Support Function-8 (ESF-8 Public Health and Healthcare) as part of the individual-county emergency management structures.

ESF-8 is one of 18 Emergency Support Functions used by state and county emergency management organizations in Florida to plan for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. ESF-8 addresses the continuum of healthcare and support issues a county and across counties and provides a coordinated mechanism to meet the healthcare and support needs of communities during a disaster.

Role and Purpose

The BBHCC is built upon existing public health and healthcare partnerships for forming a broader collaborative network of public health and healthcare system and support stakeholders. These stakeholders, and their respective public and private sector response partners utilize their shared knowledge and experience to facilitate integration, and coordination, within a defined structure to support the preparedness, response, and recovery in furtherance of the management of complex healthcare and support issues which arise during disasters

The BBHCC is not in and of itself a designated “response or recovery” entity. However, under the specific guidance of the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) ”Healthcare System Preparedness”, the role of Coalitions is described as follows:

“Healthcare Coalitions serve as a multi-agency coordinating group that assists Emergency Management and Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 with preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities related to healthcare organization disaster operations. The primary function of the Healthcare Coalition includes sub-state regional, healthcare system emergency preparedness activities involving the member organizations.

Healthcare Coalitions also may provide multi-agency coordination to interface with the appropriate level of emergency operations in order to assist with the provision of situational awareness and the coordination of resources for healthcare organizations during a response.”

Coalition Benefits

Active participation in the BBHCC will allow your organization to:

  • Become a fully engaged member of the local community’s preparedness and response system.
  • Gain insight into who key the officials are in your community and understand how their decisions during disasters or other large scale events may impact your agency/organization and the local healthcare and support system.
  • During events – have access to timely situation and status information on key decisions surrounding evacuations and other emergency conditions.
  • Better utilize and leverage the local emergency management system to enhance your organization’s ability to care for your patients, clients, and staff.
  • Monitor the status of the local and regional continuum of care partners in your area.
  • Obtain advice and resources from technical experts on how to ensure your staff are properly trained, your facilities are prepared, and your patient’s/clients needs are addressed at all times.
  • Participate in FREE training and exercises to ensure your organization is ready when disaster strikes.
  • Build stronger partnerships with the continuum of care community in the Big Bend Region.
  • Develop ability to make informed and intelligent decisions on your course of action during pre-event, response phase, and the recovery phases.
  • Receive sensitive and important information to avoid negative impacts on your patients, clients, staff, and your agency/organization.
  • Have greater access to secured neighborhoods so your staff can check on and reconnect with home-bound patients
  • Have access to a broad communications network when other methods of communications are limited or off-line.

Organization and Governance

The BBHCC is organized as a 501(c)3, and is registered with the State of Florida and the IRS as a not for profit corporation. The BBHCC is led by a Board of Directors, and structured as follows:

How will your organization benefit from joining the coalition?

As health care organizations across the nation are encouraged to join their local health care coalition, one question recurs… Why should we join?  The answer is amazingly simple… it’s an insurance policy to provide a support network so your health care organization can function effectively prior to, during, and even after major disasters or other events that would otherwise greatly disrupt your healthcare and support operations.

Active participation in the BBHCC will allow your organization to:

  • Become a fully engaged member of the local community’s preparedness and response system.
  • During events – have access to timely situation and status information on key decisions surrounding evacuations and other emergency conditions.
  • Better utilize and leverage the local emergency management system to enhance your organization’s ability to care for your patients, clients, and staff.
  • Monitor the status of the local and regional continuum of care partners in your area.
  • Obtain planning advice and resources from technical experts on how to ensure your staff are properly trained, your facilities are prepared, and your patient’s/clients needs are addressed at all times.
  • Participate in FREE training and exercises to ensure your organization is ready when disaster strikes.
  • Build stronger partnerships with the continuum of care community in the Big Bend Region.
  • Develop ability to make informed and intelligent decisions on your course of action during pre-impact, response, and the recovery phase of major events.
  • Receive sensitive and important information to avoid negative impacts on your patients, clients, staff, and your agency/organization.
  • Have greater access to secured neighborhoods so your staff can check on and reconnect with home-bound patients

Have access to a broad communications network when other methods of communications are limited or off-line.