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July 22, 2019 (Cleveland)

Hospitals and Partners Test Emergency Response Plans to Prepare for the All-Star Game

All-Star GameOnce again, eyes across the country were on Cleveland – this time as it hosted the All-Star Game earlier this month – and the region’s hospitals were among the many organizations and public entities working to ensure festivities would go smoothly. 

In preparation for the activities, hospitals participated in a regional exercise to test their capabilities for responding to a mass-casualty event. The exercise was designed to offer a learning environment for players to practice and test emergency response plans during a simulated mass-casualty trauma event resulting in hundreds of victims suffering from gunshot and improvised explosive device injuries.

Exercise Scenario

With an anticipated attendance of 30,000 to 50,000 people per day, including families with children, the exercise scenario was based on a complex coordinated attack involving events unfolding in multiple locations, inundating hospitals with trauma victims. The exercise allowed for evaluation of hospital emergency preparedness related to incident command and coordination, internal and external communication and notification, and medical surge of specialty trauma patients.

Twenty-one hospitals from the five-county region participated in the exercise. Hospitals were able to adjust their level of participation to meet their individual needs and requirements and to retest improvement plans from previous exercises. Most hospitals included some or all of their affiliated non-hospital sites and engineered the scenario to test additional capacities and capabilities of those facilities.

Agencies were assisted by designated facilitators who kept the exercise play going in the right direction, allowing for discussion and response evaluation. Emergency operations plans and hospital surge plans were utilized to assist with decision making, patient support and referral to system hospitals inside and outside of the region.

The Center for Health Affairs' emergency preparedness staff, who wrote the exercise and coordinated the design meetings, participated in the simulation cell, where the exercise was coordinated, fielding calls from hospitals as they executed the scenario.

Communication systems available within and across entities and jurisdictions tested successfully during the exercise. These included email, phone, the Ohio Public Health Communications System for message notification, SurgeNet for bed availability, and Knowledge Center for incident management. OHTrac was used for patient tracking, with approximately 400 patients added to the system.

Participation in this exercise not only strengthened organizations’ preparedness for the All-Star Game, it also enabled them to meet Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requirements.

All-Star Game Events

During the All-Star Game festivities, which were spread across several days from July 6 through 9, The Center for Health Affairs was on call with the city’s emergency operations center but, given that the event went smoothly, did not answer any calls regarding the game. A special Epicenter classifier was identified for use in hospital electronic medical records that would assist public health with surveillance of any infectious disease associated with people attending the game or related activities. No infectious disease clusters were detected from that online system.

Each day, healthcare organizations respond to emergent patient care needs. As part of this response, hospitals and other Health Care Coalition (HCC) members leverage the relationships and capabilities they build and test during preparedness exercises to contribute to coordinated information exchange and resource sharing, ensuring the best patient care outcomes possible.

Active participation of hospitals, emergency medical services, emergency management organizations, and public health agencies in these planning activities is key to helping HCCs and their members best achieve enhanced coordination and improved situational awareness in real-life, everyday patient care.

MORE: For more on The Center’s emergency preparedness program, contact us.

TWEETABLE: Hospitals and coalition partners prepared for the All-Star Game by holding a mass casualty exercise to test their emergency response plans.