says. “There are some what-ifs we are more likely to face, such as snowstorms and hurricanes, but we also want to be in a position to respond in the event of a less likely what-if, such as if a full plane crashed at the nearby airport.”

Is Your ASC Equipped to Respond to Disasters?

Make emergency preparedness a top priority in your surgery center BY ROBERT KURTZ


or most ASCs, it is not a matter of if, but when they will face a disas-

ter, says Anne Haddix, the disaster preparedness coordinator for the Indi- ana Federation of Ambulatory Surgi- cal Centers and chief executive officer of Southwest Surgical Suites in Fort Wayne, Indiana. ASCs must ensure they are effectively prepared to respond when a disaster strikes, she says. “There are so many different types of disasters an ASC may face,” Haddix says. “There are natural disasters, such as tornados and hurricanes, and man- made disasters, such as active shoot- ings, cyber intrusions and bombings. It is important for ASCs to take the threat of any type of disaster seriously. Why would I ever want to tell friends and family we would have responded better if only we were better prepared?” Laurie Dorr, RN, senior manager for the orthopedic surgery center of


The federal government is encouraging ASCs to determine what role they can play in assisting state agencies and other health care entities in the event of a disaster and to participate in community emergency drills.”

— Anne Haddix, Indiana Federation of Ambulatory Surgical Centers and Southwest Surgical Suites

Portland, Maine-based OA Centers for Orthopaedics, a division of Spectrum Medical Group, says disaster prepara- tion is a top priority for her ASC. “We understand that really anything can happen, and we want to be prepared if and when a ‘what if’ happens,” she

Develop a Plan Effective preparation begins with development of a robust disaster pre- paredness plan, Haddix says. “It is mandated by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) standards in its Conditions for Coverage that all ASCs have disaster plans. Most ASCs have plans on how to respond to a fire or tornado, but many have not developed a more extensive plan that addresses what would happen in a community- wide disaster or how to recover if a tor- nado actually hits the ASC.” She advises ASCs developing a plan to base it upon a hazard and vulnerabil- ity analysis (HVA), which evaluates the potential risks for a disaster to occur. Winona Smith, RN, clinical man- ager of the Children’s Surgery Center of Malvern in Malvern, Pennsylva- nia, says her ASC relied upon federal guidelines in creating its preparedness plan. “We used guidelines from CMS and the Federal Emergency Manage- ment Agency and Life Safety Code recommendations. I also involved our local assistant fire marshal in the process. He provided guidance and reviewed our plan.” Smith says her plan is extensive. It includes the names and contact information for all staff members, characteristics of patients served at the ASC and the different disasters the ASC could face. “That covers everything from fire to flood to earthquake to armed intruder,” she says. “Our plan outlines all of the potential hazards. We have solutions for what we need to shelter in place or shel- ter at another location. For sheltering at another place, we determined a plan for transportation of patients and staff.”

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