“Eastern Sierra Hospital Mutual Aid Network” MOU  (Press Release from Inyo-Mono Public Health Officer Dr. Rick Johnson)

nihWe (public health) are pleased to announce that the CEO’s of all three hospitals in the Eastern Sierra have signed a mammoth-hospital-entrance.jpgMemorandum of Understanding to provide mutual aid to each other when an emergency/disaster exceeds the response capability of a given facility. This took effect on October 1st, and is automatically renewed annually.

The MOU demonstrates their commitment to the sustainability of our local healthcare coalitions and to our rural communities. Having such an agreement in place is especially important in that timely aid from outside of the area is more difficult to obtain due to the long distances and frequent challenges due to weather.

The document outlines the intent to provide mutual aid when there is a federal, state, or local declaration or proclamation of an emergency or health emergency by the government officials with authority to do so. Locally, that is the Board of Supervisors, the County Sheriff, or the Health Officer.

Southern Inyo HospitalThere are 5 sections:

–       Organizational Structure and Communications – outlines how the hospital will organize itself in order to integrate seamlessly with both private and government response structures, such as Emergency Operations Centers

–       Patient Movement, Distribution, and Evacuation – outlines operational aspects of the movement of patients from one facility to another, both for assisting and accepting facilities

–       Equipment and Supplies – outlines principles of sharing of “stuff”

–       Personnel – outlines principles of the sharing of staff

–       Financial and Legal – outlines the legal and financial aspects of mutual aid

This document was created by Dr. Johnson as the Health Officer for both counties. We wish to thank the 3 CEO’s: Lee Barron of Southern Inyo Hospital (SIH), John Halfen of Northern Inyo Hospital (NIH), and Gary Myers of Mammoth Hospital (MH) for their willingness to join together in this effort. Their capable and dedicated staff participated in the review and editing of the document, led by Colleen Wilson of SIH, Andrew Stevens of NIH, and Lori Baitx of MH.

Now the real work begins, as we begin to train on this document, and use it in upcoming drills and exercises. This, like CPR training, is an item we hope and pray we will never have to use! However, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Not planning is planning to fail”!

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