By MAJ Philip Durando, TAMC, PAOAugust 27, 2015
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Members of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH) conducted a National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) tabletop exercise on Aug. 7.
Forty participants representing 25 military and civilian medical centers and health care organizations gathered for the tabletop exercise in order to test the readiness of the organizations to respond to emergencies.
The participants worked together to coordinate the transportation and medical care for victims of disasters and emergencies that exceed the capacity of the locality where the event occurred.
The goals of the NDMS are to assist state and local authorities in dealing with medical and health effects of peacetime disasters and to provide support to military and Veterans Affairs medical systems in caring for military casualties returning to the U.S. for hospitalization.
“The objectives of this tabletop exercise were to provide an overview of the National Disaster Medical System to the participating hospitals, medical centers and supporting agencies in Hawaii,” stated Col. James Anderson, administrative chief for the Hawaii Federal Coordinating Center (FCC).
“The exercise outlined the processes associated with the activation of the FCC, in order to coordinate and support patient movement throughout the region.” Toby Clairmont, HAH Emergency Services director, provided an overview of the key components and responsibilities of the civilian medical centers during the activation of the NDMS.
“One of the key responsibilities of the HAH is to provide accurate and timely reporting of bed availability at participating medical centers,” said Clairmont.
“The HAH uses a Web-based NDMS bed reporting module, giving emergency managers real time information on the capacity of local hospitals in order to make decisions on where to send inbound patients.” This year’s tabletop exercise is in preparation for the 2016 RIMPAC Multinational Maritime Exercise, where the NDMS and Hawaii FCC will be tested by coordinating and executing the movement of over 250 live patients using over 30 rotary wing aircraft, between military and civilian medical centers in the Hawaiian Islands.
As a result of the tabletop exercise, the Hawaii FCC and HAH members were able to validate concepts, establish policies and procedures in the NDMS, as well as test and evaluate the alert and activation procedures between the Hawaii FCC and the various participating federal, state, regional, county and city health care partners.
“This tabletop exercise helped reconfirm our strong partnerships within the Hawaii NDMS communities, as well as provided an opportunity to test and evaluate the current NDMS operations plans,” said Anderson.
“It is imperative that the military, civilian and federal health care organizations all speak as one voice during an emergency,” said Thomas Bookman, emergency manager for Regional Health Command-Pacific (Provisional) and Hawaii FCC coordinator. “The Healthcare Association of Hawaii helps us tie it all together in the Pacific Region.” See more…