Congressman Daniel Webster and a Democratic member of the House of Representatives have introduced bipartisan 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.
He has co-sponsored the legislation with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan.
“Disaster preparedness is critical for protecting lives, improving resiliency and being good stewards of disaster relief dollars,” said Webster.
He said 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,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security lists health care as one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors. TheWorst-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.
For a copy of the legislation, click here.