4 Ways One Hospital Provided Care Through a Wildfire
By Medline Newsroom Staff | December 4, 2018
The recent devastation in Paradise, California has many administrators wondering: how can a hospital operate and provide care when faced with a natural disaster? Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC) faced that exact dilemma one year ago, when the largest wildfire in California’s history at the time, the Thomas fire, broke out. The blaze forced the administrators and clinicians to think on their feet throughout the five-day crisis. Given the increasing frequency of wildfires in the western region of the country, VCMC’s case study provides a valuable source of best practices and learnings for hospital administrators. Here are 4 steps VCMC took in face of the Thomas fire:
1. Have a plan
Before the Thomas fire ever started, VCMC had a preparedness committee coming up with an emergency action plan focused around coordinating logistics, operations, supplies and sharing information with the public. Having such baseline plans and organization in place helped them hit the ground running when the fire broke out.
2. Prioritize care
Given that during an emergency, hospitals frequently operate on backup generators, it’s important to prioritize emergency care and ensure your most vulnerable patients are stable. VCMC decided to suspend elective surgeries until the end of the fires in order to ensure those key areas had sufficient resources.
3. Communicate with vendors
Natural disasters put tremendous stress on supply chains and existing inventories, but a dedicated vendor may be able help overcome unexpected obstacles. In Ventura’s case, the morning after the fire broke out, their CEO personally called his Medline sales rep to order more masks, air purifiers and other critical supplies. And although the smoke and high number of emergency vehicles made the roads to and from the hospital almost impassable, Medline’s trucks got through. By mid-afternoon they had delivered not only their own products but parcels from FedEx and other delivery companies.
4. Gather lessons learned
In addition to staying open and continuing to provide vital care to residents, Ventura County identified opportunities to improve their disaster readiness in the future. Taking stock of their performance is helping VCMC prepare for the challenges that lay ahead.
Learn more about ways Medline is helping hospitals advance their logistics and planning.