Post Katrina, emergency readiness lags

Much needed is building preparedness into day-to-day decisions
By Bernie Monegain
10:57 AM
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Hurricane Katrina

"We now recognize that all healthcare facilities, not just hospitals, must plan for disasters, have the basic equipment necessary to sustain operations and be able to allocate scarce resources fairly, and that such planning must take place with the recognition that each facility does not exist in a vacuum," write Nicole Lurie, Karen DeSalvo, MD, and Kristen Finne, in a blog posted August 27 in Health Affairs.

Lurie is assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS. DeSalvo is national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary at HHS. Finne is senior program analyst at HHS.

The authors look back at what happened 10 years ago after Hurricane Katrina touched down in New Orleans. They also take stock of the initiatives that have been undertaken to ensure a better response to emergencies today. They conclude that progress has been made on this front, but there are also many challenges yet to be addressed.

"Building sustained preparedness into the day-to-day decisions that enhance healthcare, public health, and emergency management must become the cultural norm," they write.

Read the blog, Ten Years After Hurricane Katrina: Progress And Challenges Remain For US Emergency Preparedness, here.