"Greater Boston and Massachusetts were used as prototypes to evaluate the feasibility of, and requirements for, reopening a shuttered hospital to expand surge capacity during an urban mass casualty event. Massachusetts health planners previously identified the need for 150-250 additional beds for a surge event; this is the scale of operation explored in this project. Other communities may be considering this option as well. Our objective was to develop tools to help planners determine whether this option is feasible in their local communities and to carry out the advance planning and preparation that would be required. After considering several candidate facilities, conducting careful walk-throughs and assessments of two candidate facilities, and discussing options with the owners of several others in the greater Boston area, we concluded that the following factors would help emergency planners evaluate candidate shuttered hospitals and determine the most likely candidates for surge capacity expansion. A completely abandoned hospital that has been vacant for many years would likely have been stripped of anything saleable and will no longer have working utilities, fire and life safety systems, or even possibly water and sanitation fixtures. Thus a totally shuttered facility cannot safely be converted to inpatient care in a timely manner. Location and the relative local value of the real estate involved may indicate the likelihood that a facility will remain empty and available or be converted to other purposes such as condominiums or assisted living."
AHRQ Publication No. 06-0029
United States Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: http://www.ahrq.gov/