The full report is available online at www.ama-assn.org/go/disasterpreparedness
Public health systems need more federal funding to respond to both day-to-day emergencies and mass-casualty events, according to disaster preparedness recommendations released by a coalition of 18 health organizations.
The coalition, which was led by the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association, issued a report with 53 recommendations aimed at leaders in medicine and government. Other coalition members include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American College of Surgeons. The project was funded under a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The only thing we can probably predict with any certainty about terrorism attacks and other mass casualty events is this—we're not going to know the time, location, and magnitude in advance,” Dr. Ronald M. Davis, AMA president, said at a press conference. “But we have no excuse if our responses aren't known in advance.”
The report identifies nine critical areas needing immediate action, including:
▸ Increased federal funding should be allocated to expand emergency medical, trauma care, and disaster health preparedness systems across the country.
▸ Governmental entities and health systems must develop and evaluate processes to ensure a return to readiness for routine health care and future mass casualty events following a disaster.
▸ Funding for economic recovery after a disaster must emphasize the reestablishment of public health and health care systems.
▸ The Institute of Medicine should perform a comprehensive study of health system surge capacity.
▸ Emergency and disaster preparedness must be integrated with public health and health care systems nationwide to provide effective emergency and trauma care.
▸ Public health and health care officials must participate directly in disaster preparedness planning, mitigation, response, and recovery operations.
▸ Health disaster communications and health information exchange networks must be fully integrated and interoperable at every level of government and health systems.
▸ The government, health systems, and professional organizations should develop and distribute information on the management of adult and pediatric patients in day-to-day emergencies and catastrophic events.
▸ Public health and health care responders must be given adequate legal protections for providing care during a disaster.