Assignment: Case Study for Berwick Hospital System Assume that you are the newly appointed Chief Continuity Manager for the Berwick Hospital System. Outlining the major risks associated with maintaining continuity of operations in the event of an environmental catastrophe, and making an outline of the basics of a continuity plan to cope such a scenario. To: the Chief Operating Officer Subject: Risks Associated with Environmental Catastrophe Berwick Hospital System has identified some of the same vulnerabilities with hospitals in Louisiana that experienced Katrina and Rita catastrophes.
In order to minimize the damage we might have in the event of environmental catastrophes, I summarized in this memo some potential risks of environmental catastrophes and a continuity of operation plan to cope such a scenario. Berwick Hospital System is a health care organization located in downtown Chicago Illinois. The main hospital contains medical laboratories, 673 hospital beds, and five operating rooms. The hospital also have seven smaller satellite buildings on campus house including nursing home, hospice, and doctors offices for outpatient appointments and access.
An emergency according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), is any unplanned event that can cause deaths or significant injuries to employees, customers or the public; or that can shut down the business, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the facility’s financial standing or public image (FEMA, page 5). Before we can prepare a continuity of operation plan, we must analyze the types and possibilities of environmental catastrophes that are expected or anticipated in Chicago, Illinois.
Although the mayor recently warned the hospital that the elevated railway station near by was found to be the target of a foiled plot of international terrorists to detonate large explosives, environmental catastrophes in Chicago include far more possibilities. Included in the list of potential vulnerabilities of Illinois natural hazard are severe storm, tornado, flood, drought, extreme heat, severe winter storm, and earthquake. This list is yet to include environmental catastrophes such as crime and terrorist attacks.
When developing a continuity of operation plan for Berwick hospital system, internal as well as external resources must be considered for these potential vulnerabilities. Illinois Emergency management Agency (“IEMA”) has conducted a study for potential emergencies and rated it accordingly to its level of caution. Illinois Hazard Rating |Severe Storms |Floods |Severe Winter |Drought |Extreme Heat |Earth Quake |Tornado |Terrorist Attack| | | |Storms | | | | | |
Severe |High |Severe |Guarded |High |Guarded |High |Elevated | | Key |Low 0-12 |Guarded 13-24 |Elevated 25-36 |High 37-48 |Severe 49-60 | | In our plan for continuity of operation, I’d suggest that we give special attentions to all potential hazards rated above elevated for the first tier with more cautions and detailed steps. Then include other potential hazards that were rated for “Guarded” or “Low” for moderate precautions. From the hospital’s capacity, we should anticipate that Berwick Hospital System host populations with elderly, infirm, special needs, and limited mobility in the nursing home and hospice facilities.
These patients may be susceptible to increased risk in the presence or impending introduction of environmental hazard. Depending on which catastrophic event we faces, we may also experience disease agent that may be compounded by large-scale transmission such as contaminated water supply brought by floods. During the time of emergency, it is highly possible that we may experience increased numbers of outpatients and emergency access. We should also prepare our employees and facility for such additional populations.
A team of specialized emergency countermeasure personnel is called for prioritizing procedures and treating patients. Also additional administrative staffs may be required for more smooth operations. Those in the external community may also be at risks and need transportation and treatment at Berwick Hospital Systems. In such events, transportation personnel, delivery personnel, and third party maintenance personnel contacts should also be listed for emergency call.
To start our continuity operation plan, we can reach out to the emergency management agency for assistance such as whether the hospital property is located in a flood plain, community’s tornado warning system, and seismic information of the area. Inside of the Berwick Hospital System, a team needs to be built specific for continuity of operation plan. Team members involved, as needed, depending upon identified functional requirements during the course of an emergency.
However potential candidates must be trained with a set of procedure code so at the time of emergency event occurring, everything can be handled at the best possible manner. Potential candidate pool includes but not limited to upper management, medical specialties, maintenance, engineering, security, public information officers, community relations, information technology personnel, legal personnel, and transportation personnel (FEMA, page 9). Several important components must be addressed for making the continuity of operation plan.
These components including human capital resources, vital records program, and alternative facilities. The hospital’s internal human capital positions must be identified for successful execution of required functions. Also, external human capital resources must be identified as well. These external human capitals may be in a form of public organization such as community emergency management office, mayor or community administrator’s office, public transportation, fire department, police department, national weather service and public works department.
Closer relationship with these public agencies may help Berwick Hospital System to prepare for emergency ahead of time, receive most updated information regarding the situation, and receive first hand support from each organization. External support from these organizations may also help the hospital to control the level of tension among patients and avoid chaos. Other external human capital may be in a form of businesses including telephone companies, electric utilities, insurance carriers, and other neighboring businesses (FEMA, page 10, 13).
Berwick Hospital System is a large hospital with 673 hospital beds, nursing home, hospice, and doctor’s office available for outpatients. The hospital needs to have a sophisticated record keeping system and database for their normal operation, and which becomes especially important during any emergency events. In times of emergency, a set of emergency operating records must be kept for references. Emergency operating records include operating plans, facility architectural and floor plans, delegation of authority, staffing assignments and orders of successions.
Equally if not more important are the legal and financial records and medical records. Legal and financial records include payroll records, insurance records, and contract records, while medical records include patient medical records, and prescription records. The above vital records also require Berwick Hospital System to have documentations and proper procedures. In order to keep these vital records, certain knowledge management activities must be completed. To manage knowledge, the hospital must first convert data to knowledge.
Data is defined as a flow of events or transactions captured by an organization’s system that, by itself, is useful for transacting but little else. Data is turned into useful information by expending resources to organize data into categories of understanding. The management must expend additional resources to discover patterns, rules, and contexts to transform information into knowledge (Laudon, 414). Knowledge involves the “know-how” for “what”, “when”, and “why” things happen. It is same as human capital and information capital assets that it must be stored and be accessible.
Included in the continuity of operation plan, alternative facilities are to be considered as well. In event where evacuation of a part or the entire hospital campus is required, the executive management person in charge must identify alternative facilities for affected functions. Ready identified facilities may help shortening evacuation time and safe transformation. Assistance maybe provided by the federal or local emergency management agency to identify alternative facilities that are spacious, well equipped, safe, easier access to public transportation, and well secured.
Taking into consideration of the above context, a continuity of operation plan must be developed and laid out for test, training, and exercise program for the hospital and its employees to be familiar with. Tests on capability of equipment, facilities, and networks must be conducted and the result needs to be evaluated. For example, communications connectivity and alert and notification procedures are some of the important evaluative tests in order to confirm a successful continuity of operation plan. Human capital also need evaluative process, but through training.
After all human capital, information capital, and knowledge are in places, Berwick Hospital Systems can conduct hospital wide exercise. Planned events allow application of skills and knowledge. It can also identify areas requiring additional training, planning, or other resources to improve operational readiness. Finally, after actually implanting the continuity of operation plan and management, a crisis is to be managed and the business restored. An offsite crisis manager should be monitoring and giving supervisions for recovery process, and an onsite crisis manager may be appointed for a faster and smoother operation.
An emergency event will most likely attack one day with little or no caution to anyone. A chaotic yet demanding situation is hard to manage with over flooding information and data. Continuity of operation plan summarize these overwhelming data and information to knowledge, and by exercising the plan, employees can transform the knowledge into wisdom. When human capital, information capital and wisdom is ready, Berwick Hospital System may provide a better and faster remedy solution to an unfortunate event and help minimize the damage to the community.
In this memo, I have summarized potential emergency events in Illinois and the ranking of each event as well as some risks and important factors to be considered while making the continuity of operation plan. With this, I hope we can develop a more detailed plan that may help us to protect our hospital, and support our community.
Federal Emergency management Agency (“FEMA”), http://www. fema. gov/
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (“IEMA”), http://www. state. il. us/iema/index. asp
Illinois Hazard Rating, 2007 Illinois Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, III, 16