“Surviving Sandy: Hospitals Make the Best Out of a Terrible Situation” Annual Membership Meeting - American Hospital Association Monday, April 29, 2013 Arthur A. Gianelli, MA, MBA, MPH President and Chief Executive Officer of the NuHealth System. NuHealth in a Nutshell.
“Surviving Sandy: Hospitals Make the Best Out of a Terrible Situation”
Annual Membership Meeting - American Hospital Association
Monday, April 29, 2013
Arthur A. Gianelli, MA, MBA, MPH
President and Chief Executive Officer of the NuHealth System
LBMC and Nursing Home
Long Island is extremely susceptible to flooding from major hurricanes. During the last two major hurricanes (Irene and Sandy), NUMC and AHP sheltered patients from the Long Beach Medical Center and its associated nursing home.
Sunday, October 28th: Transfer day. LBMC staff transported their patients and a triage team (chief medical residents, a hospitalist, psychiatrists, nursing staff) met them near their entrance point. They reviewed patient records, assessed medication regimens, and facilitated the admissions process. Over a period of 6-8 hours, these patients were integrated into our hospital. At the same time, AHP took in 35 residents and, because it was already near capacity, admitted these residents to a redesigned auditorium.
And then we awaited the onset of the storm….
Credentialed and deployed approximately 165 medical professionals from LBMC to supplement our staff.
Established transportation system for patients to and from emergency shelters.
Created car pool communication board to help employees conserve fuel and get to and from work.
Deployed family practice residents to emergency shelters to triage patients and, ideally, keep patients away from the hospital.
Sent discharged patients home with three day supply of meds to try as best as possible to avoid immediate readmissions.
Created capacity wherever possible (re-opened units under renovation, hallway beds, use of atriums, etc.) to house patients at the hospital.
Created capacity in the hospital to permit staff on multiple shifts to sleep, shower, and eat.
Quickly renovated empty resident housing to make units available to employees who lost their homes (also connected these employees with other social support services, such as the local food rescue organization).
24/7 crisis counseling provided to impacted employees.
Conducted a fund raiser through Foundation to support displaced employees.
DMAT team in our ICS…..
A “unique” model….
The federal government deployed an 50 member Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) as well as a National Public Health Service (NPHS) team.
The DMAT was integrated into NUMC’s inpatient and emergency medicine units, creating what we were advised was a unique model of emergency response.
The NPHS team provided real-time crisis counseling to our staff.
The DMAT Team….
How the Team worked….
To support our response to Superstorm Sandy, the federal government sent 50 health care professionals (physicians, nurses, paramedics, x-ray techs, and pharmacists) from Texas, Ohio, and Kentucky.
Though the usual model for DMAT is to work in tents outside of hospitals, the integration of the DMAT clinical professionals into our clinical teams worked flawlessly and elicited extraordinarily positive feedback from our staff and from the DMAT team.
By mid-November, our hospital census receded to manageable levels, and NuHealth was able safely to transition from its reliance on the supplemental support provided by DMAT and NPHS professionals.
It was at this point that NuHealth was also able to ratchet back and wind down its incident command operations.
“I was very impressed with the command execution of the command center team as well as your administrative officers. They get it! You all understand the Incident Command System and you are very effective and intuitive. In my many years of experience, I found it to be very well run!
Not only are you trying to mitigate a crisis, but you are primary victims, yet still continue to put patients’ needs ahead of everything. You are to be commended for this!
You had your priorities straight. The things you did to care for your people, I have never seen that level of command organization in a hospital.”
DMAT TEAM LEADER
MESILLA, NEW MEXICO
November 9, 2012