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The Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership was born of an identified need for coordinated collaboration in response to man-made or natural disasters. Four major healthcare institutions in Bethesda, Maryland recognized the advantages and importance of close collaboration and established an Emergency Preparedness Partnership. The rationale for the collaborative includes:
  • The immediate proximity of the institutions to each other;
  • Their complementary strengths;
  • Their location relative to the seat of the U.S. Government;
  • The pre-existing mature emergency preparedness plans/procedures at each institution; and
  • The fact that the four institutions have the necessary physical, human and intellectual resources to be able to coordinate emergency healthcare for thousands of regional inhabitants.

The three goals of the collaboration are:

  • to respond rapidly and successfully to any emergency situation;
  • to integrate the collaborative response with other community, regional, and national responses; and
  • to create collaborative structures and processes to serve as an exportable model for other similar centers in the Nation.

The exportability of the model is a key aspect of the collaborative. The design and implementation of this collaboration could be used as a template for similar planning activities using variants of the model developed in Bethesda. In many communities academic, community and Federal hospitals exist in close proximity. To assure the generalizability of the model, the collaborative has developed:

  • Tools for guiding the assessment of existing organizational assets;
  • Tools for identifying and categorizing required resources;
  • Strategies for maintaining and/or enhancing existing processes;
  • Strategies for sustaining collaborative readiness; and
  • Objective measures and methods for quantifying progress and success of the program, as well as methods for exporting the program.

Critical infrastructure requirements necessary to support the goals of the Partnership include, but are not limited to:

  • Surge capacity
  • Triage capacity and process
  • Supply stockpile
  • Decontamination facilities
  • Transportation
  • Communication
  • Workforce Management
  • Information Technology
  • Preparedness Assessment Processes