Program Draws Federal Support to Tackle Serious Public Health Challenge
Powered for Patients, a public-private initiative to protect patient health by safeguarding backup power and expediting power restoration for critical healthcare facilities, grew out of the lessons DSS principals Eric Cote and Cara Klein learned from their work with other clients responding to Hurricane Sandy. Power outages and generator failures prompted unplanned hospital and nursing home evacuations and caused other significant disruptions in the healthcare delivery system.
“We saw a clear need from Hurricane Sandy for research and analysis to better understand the challenges faced in protecting backup power and expediting power restoration for critical healthcare facilities,” said DSS principal Eric Cote. “We concluded that effective solutions to address these challenges would require a robust public-private partnership involving government, utilities, healthcare facilities and the power generation industry. Thanks to the financial support of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), we’ve been able to assemble this public-private partnership which is now poised to tackle the challenges of backup power and power restoration head on.”
ASTHO provided federal funding from the HSS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to enable DSS to convene an initial Powered for Patients stakeholder’s meeting. On August 19, 2014, 50 leaders from government, the electric utility industry, the power generation industry, the healthcare sector and non-profit organizations convened in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural Powered for Patients Stakeholder Meeting.
The goal of the day-long meeting was to enable key stakeholders involved in supporting backup power and facilitating power restoration for critical healthcare facilities to better understand the challenges faced by other stakeholders. The meeting also provided a platform for stakeholders to discover opportunities to better safeguard backup power and expedite power restoration through coordinated effort.
Stakeholder Meeting attendees included Dr. Nicole Lurie, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, who provided an opening keynote address, and Patricia A. Hoffman, the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability at the U.S. Department of Energy. Other government participants included officials from FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and the CDC. Bryan Koon, Director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, also took part as a delegate from the National Emergency Management Association.
Private sector representatives from the hospital sector, the dialysis community, utilities and the power generation industry also took part.
Going forward, DSS principals Cote and Klein are focused on implementing a number of the recommendations that emerged from the stakeholder meeting. (Click here for link to Stakeholder Meeting Report’s Executive Summary).
Eric Cote and Cara Klein, principals of Disaster Safety Strategies, have earned praise from a number of private sector leaders, public health officials and emergency managers for their work in developing Powered for Patients.
“In developing Powered for Patients, Eric and Cara have demonstrated their out-of-the box strategic thinking and skill in coalition building,” said Gerrit Bakker, Senior Director, Public Health Preparedness at ASTHO. “This project benefitted from outside creative thinking to bring together disparate interests for a common purpose. The impressive result of the work of Disaster Safety Strategies is a platform that can help tackle the serious challenge of protecting backup power and restoring utility power for critical healthcare facilities impacted by disaster. This is an area of great concern to public health officials and we now have an excellent vehicle in Powered for Patients to address this challenge.”
Learn more about Powered for Patients at www.poweredforpatients.org.