Regarding your cover story, "Preparing for a disaster," (Sept. 8, p. 6): There is absolutely no doubt that our focus for responding to disasters must change with the possibilities of bioterrorism. It is obvious that hospitals in major metropolitan areas are responding to the need, in spite of the lack of federal funds. However, this sense of urgency cannot be felt in smaller communities where the local funds simply aren't available or are being funneled into clinical expansion and upgrade. Smaller hospitals are taking a look at what they believe is the potential for a terrorist act in their communities and trying to prepare at minimal levels.
Near the end of the article the thought process revolved around having the federal government establish standards of preparedness for hospitals. Although the federal government has a certain level of experience in preparing for terrorist attacks, its agencies don't represent the extent of experience or knowledge. It seems appropriate that the American Hospital Association be a lead organization in helping to set whatever standards might be required. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, state emergency-management agencies and others could help federal agencies come up with plans.
Even vendors of disaster response equipment should be consulted. These companies have taken the models for other disaster events and applied them to terrorism.
Yes, many hospitals are going it alone, especially those not part of a larger group. However, there must be a sharing of knowledge and experience with all hospitals. This could be where the AHA comes in, perhaps devoting a part of its Web site to disaster response activities. We need to collaborate more in order to meet the challenges posed by these threats.
Director of environmental services
Cabell Huntington Hospital
Kudos for IT coverage
Congratulations to John Morrissey on his excellent special report on how the federal government is pushing for consensus on medical record standards ("Out to set the record," Oct. 20, p. 28). This is a complex issue, and your story is a must-read by everyone involved in bringing more information technology to the healthcare industry.
Healthcare media representative
White Plains, N.Y.
How to find doc dating rules
Regarding your Oct. 6 Outliers column item (p. 36) on the Horty, Springer & Mattern conference entitled "Eight Simple Rules for Dating Your Doctor." I have tried to look this up with no success. Do you have any suggestions or can you provide me with a copy of this online?
Emergency Physicians Affiliates
Editor's note: For further information go to hortyspringer.com/hsm/lpext.dll/?f=templates&fn=index.htm, or call 800-245-1205.
What about us?
Regarding the Sept. 29 supplement on Solucient's 100 Top Hospitals report, I was interested in finding out whether there are any comparative data on critical-access hospitals.
Janis Mederia Stanley
Director of health information management
Compliance and privacy officer
Allendale County Hospital
Editor's note: For additional information, contact Solucient at 800-366-7526.
In reply to Todd Sloane's editorial on the uninsured ("The intractable coverage crisis," Oct. 6, p. 18), one word: Bull's-eye!
Acadian Health Care Alliance