In short, competition morphs into collaboration, compassion and cooperation, and not necessarily in that order.
“Most healthcare providers have a commitment to provide and support the healthcare needs of their community,” said Al Webb, Director, Integrated Services, ROi. “Even in normal operations local competitive healthcare facilities routinely cooperate in the borrowing and purchase of immediate supply needs. But, in addition it’s extremely beneficial that healthcare organizations and their Supply Chain leaders be an active part of a local or regional coalition of healthcare organizations that work together to coordinate and assist with disaster preparedness, response and recovery in support of one another and for the support of the community as a whole. The local healthcare coalitions can play a huge role in the initial disaster response especially in the first few hours and days of the disaster.”
Coalitions matter, Russ Conroy RRT, Director, Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Mercy Hospital Springfield, emphasized.
“These coalitions are set up to provide planning, mitigation and support during a response to any affected healthcare organization,” he said. “The healthcare coalition has representatives from not only hospitals but may include FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Centers), County Health Departments, Home Health Agencies, representatives from Health Departments, Nursing Home Facilities and Supply Chain representatives. The healthcare coalitions are set up on a hub and spoke concept. In other words, it is neighbor helping neighbor. If additional support is needed then we can reach across the coalition or to other coalitions or to our partners at the state level.”
But the level of support will vary depending on the scope, breadth and nature of the disaster, according to Webb, an example being a pandemic situation that may significantly impact every healthcare facility in the region. “Therefore, it’s important that our disaster plans do not depend solely on the regional coalitions and competitive provider’s assistance as they may also have significant challenges of their own to overcome,” he added.
“It should be noted that during a significant event affecting one of our facilities the competition does not exist during this time between providers,” Conroy said.