April 13, 2018
So many tragic events occurred during 2017 in the United States. Destructive hurricanes ravaged the southern Continental United States (U.S.), Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Devastating fires damaged parts of California. Tragic mass casualty events such as the shootings in Las Vegas left communities shaken and families in need. The consequences have been profound and recovery efforts are ongoing.
Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Each type of disaster may bring with it unique circumstances that require unique responses. Disasters may require relocation of health care facilities, new requirements for vaccinations, loss of medicines or medical equipment, mass casualty or advanced trauma care, and expanded mental health counseling and support resources following the incident.
Health insurance providers are uniquely situated in the health care ecosystem. We are a critical link to helping consumers access and use health care services leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of these disruptive events. We are there for those who suffer physical injuries and need emergency care. We offer pathways to long-term rehabilitation and emotional support. We are committed to working together for their recovery.
Since 2005, AHIP has met regularly with members of our Emergency Preparedness Work Group on national emergencies and disasters. We also convene ad hoc conference calls and events with our Chief Medical Officers for public health emergencies and updates. In addition, we have frequent communications with our federal partners to prepare for and respond to the aftermath of disasters.
While natural and manmade threats remain, new and changing threats like cybersecurity, terrorist events, and mass casualty shootings have also emerged as additional areas of concerns. At the same time, advances in technology and digital communication tools have transformed the landscape of emergency preparedness and response.
As a part of our enduring commitment to ensure patients receive the care that they need, health insurance providers continue to refine emergency protocols to best serve their members, employees, partners, and communities. Our goal is that this issue brief can serve as a resource for health insurance providers, offering best practices for emergency preparedness and business continuity.
President and CEO, AHIP