Dingell, Webster Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ Preparedness for Hospitals, Long-term Care Facilities
December 6, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Daniel Webster (FL-11) today introduced legislation to strengthen and evaluate emergency preparedness procedures for hospitals and long-term care facilities. The Worst-Case Scenario Hospital Preparedness Act comes in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season, which caused flooding and power outages at hospitals and medical facilities from Florida to Puerto Rico, resulting in public health emergencies and, in some cases, loss of life.
“Emergency preparedness policies and procedures at our nation’s hospitals have been seriously tried and tested this year,” said Dingell. “The destruction wrought in the paths of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate left hospitals and long-term care facilities without power, flooded or shutdown, resulting in tragic loss of life. In the face of these extreme weather threats, it is critical that emergency preparedness procedures across all medical facilities be reviewed. This legislation takes a proactive approach to identify new polices that better address future threats – both manmade and natural – so we can better protect patients.”
“Disaster preparedness is critical for protecting lives, improving resiliency and being good stewards of disaster relief dollars,” said Webster. “The bill is a practical approach to ensuring that hospitals and long-term care facilities across the nation are more resilient against natural disasters. Maintaining a high standard of inspection, upkeep, and disaster preparedness, especially in places like in my home state of Florida, reduces the future loss of important facilities that many seniors and veterans in my district rely on. Being better prepared on the front end should also save taxpayers millions of dollars in disaster relief.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security lists health care as one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors. The Worst-Case Scenario Hospital Preparedness Act seeks to improve emergency preparedness in the health care sector by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to engage with the National Academy of Medicine to conduct a comprehensive study into the future threats impacting emergency preparedness procedures for hospitals, long term care facilities, and other health care facilities. The study will provide Congress with new recommendations and expert analysis on:
- current emergency preparedness policies and regulations;
- identifying new policies that better address all future threats;
- improving Federal grant programs to assist health care facilities; and
- providing updated guidelines for alternative power systems and access to clean water.