Report: U.S. Hospitals Improved Disaster Preparedness

U.S. hospitals have improved their preparedness for disasters due to a focus on medical surge planning, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency report.

The 2012 National Preparedness Report said HHS' Hospital Preparedness Program, which has awarded approximately $4 billion to states since 2002, has strengthened hospitals' communications, medical evacuation and fatality management abilities.

HPP is currently focused on developing community- and regionally-based coalitions of healthcare organizations, public health and emergency management to collaborate in preparedness efforts.

The Institute of Medicine noted an area of improvement is capacity management in hospital emergency departments, according to the report. Structural problems, increased nonemergency patient visits to the ED, diversion of emergency medical services, regionalization of surgical care and healthcare workforce shortages have strained hospitals' EDs, according to the report.

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