Disaster Preparedness: Limitations in Federal Evacuation Assistance for Health Facilities Should be Addressed, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Hurricane Katrina demonstrated difficulties involved in evacuating communities and raised questions about how hospitals and nursing homes plan for evacuations and how the federal government assists. Due to broad-based congressional interest, GAO [Government Accountability Office] assessed the evacuation of hospital patients and nursing home residents. Under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative, GAO examined (1) the challenges hospital and nursing home administrators faced, (2) the extent to which limitations exist in the design of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to assist with patient evacuations, and (3) the federal requirements for hospital and nursing home disaster and evacuation planning. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed federal officials, and interviewed hospital and nursing home administrators and state and local officials in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and Hurricane Charley in Florida." Results of the investigation include facility administrators' difficulties in gaining proper transportation for patients to NDMS "mobilization centers", and the lack of an agreement in the National Response Plan between NDMS and nursing homes.

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Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
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