Extreme Weather Events and Public Health
Healthcare and Public Health during Disaster
Major extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods can disrupt the normal flow of healthcare supply chains. Loss of access to medication and medical supplies can negatively impact patient well-being and continuity of care, particularly in economically vulnerable patients and those with chronic conditions. For marginalized communities, rural communities, and under-resourced communities, the impact of natural disasters can be both immediately devastating and have long-term negative impacts on preparedness and response capabilities.
The ability of private and public entities to adequately respond to an event, rests on interconnected factors—from the availability of medical products to a ready supply of power and safe drinking water, for example. Healthcare Ready provides the essential tools for facilitating solutions in disasters across these entities, including:
- Rapid access to the right contacts in government or the private sector
- Trusted, protected communications channels to share and react to sensitive information.
- Reliable, tailored situation updates compiled from public and private sources.
- Subject matter expertise on policy and operational aspects of disaster response
We can also support communities during and in the immediate aftermath of extreme weather events by:
- Identifying patient needs through our partnerships with industry leaders like Google. We used Rx Open data and aggregated Google search trends to identify areas with high concentrations of patients, prioritize healthcare resources, and connect patients to healthcare. View the case study.
- Facilitating medical supply donations by connecting private sector resources with shelter, patient, and healthcare facility needs.
- Amplifying prescription assistance programs and advocating for Federal Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) activation when low-income patients are at risk.
- Supporting supply chain restoration, such as coordinating fuel distribution with state authorities and emergency fueling companies and facilitating access and re-entry.
Healthcare Ready also offers resources to help communities prepare and coordinate their response efforts:
- Partner Playbook: Our Partner Playbook provides an overview of our support and activities during an activation.
- Overview for Government Partners: During emergencies, our disaster response coordination support is available to government partners at no cost.
- Understanding Patient Needs During a Disaster: Patient needs are impacted by a variety of challenges. This document provides an overview of these complications and issues we track during activations.
- Rx Open: View FAQs on Rx Openandan informational webinar, as well as learn how the map was used during the historic 2017 hurricane season.
Healthcare Ready stands ready to activate whenever there is a potential wide-spread impact to healthcare supply chains and/or community well-being. Activation is determined on a case-by-case basis. Here are examples of some of the triggers that are considered before activation:
- Disaster declaration by a governor or the President
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Threat Advisory Red/Severe Classification
- Health and well-being of a significant number of people is materially threatened or affected
- Local, regional, national, or global healthcare infrastructure is significantly compromised
When a disaster occurs, Healthcare Ready also activates Rx Open maps to help the public and emergency responders see where pharmacies are open and closed in the affected area. Healthcare Ready also monitors international disasters that may affect the delivery of critical medicines in the US.
Email Alerts@HealthcareReady.org with requests for assistance or support, or to learn more about our disaster support services.