Forest Fires and Healthcare

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted on the challenges that face hospitals in my home state of SC (Let alone FL!!!) when a hurricane threatens? And reported that researchers are actually gathering statistics to provide hospital decision makers with guidance as to the safest way to proceed?                        

Check this out.  What we see here is another permutation of the same issue.  What the heck does a hospital administrator do when a wildfire threatens her institution? Or, better yet, when the electric utility in her institution’s area announces that they are going to cut power to the area for an indefinite period of time for safety reasons?

What we learn here is that virtually no hospital in CA can afford to have generators large enough to permit them to conduct business as usual for an indefinite period of time. For power outages, the question here is not the hurricane-esque question of evacuate/don’t evacuate. The question here is what functions are most critical to keep running, and what do we do about the functions we are going to have to shut down???

Bottom Line. If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, it would seem to be in this article’s report that hospitals are starting to form strategic plans and do simulations against all such eventualities. Hopefully, guiding principles will evolve that will provide the next generation of hospital administrators with a better understanding of what to do when their power company turns out the lights!

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