The healthcare community has made progress in emergency preparedness, but hospitals in almost one-third of the states and the District of Columbia have not adequately prepared for a surge of extra patients in case of disasters, according to a report by the Trust for America's Health. The group gave the federal government a "D-plus" for general public-health emergency preparedness since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also took the hospital industry to task for failing to plan for disasters by identifying community centers, sports arenas or hotels to be used in case of an overflow of patients. "While there is no way to be 100% prepared, there are still basic achievable levels of preparedness we have yet to meet," the group's executive director, Shelley Hearne, said in a news release. According to the report, only two states, Rhode Island and South Dakota, have made plans to ensure continuity of care by making provisions to "encourage" healthcare workers to be on the job during major disasters. Read the report. -- by Michael Romano
Hospitals said to lag in disaster plans, surge capacity
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