Quarterly SOHLstice
Fall 2018
In This Issue
President's Message
Message from Our ACHE Regent
Welcome Our Newest Members of SOHL!
The 10th Annual SOHL Conference - Facing the Drug Crisis: Politics, Costs, Consequences and Solutions
National News Q3 2018
Increase in Healthcare M&A Activity Continues in 2018
IHI Publishes Guide for Providing Safe Home Healthcare
Activation and Transition Planning is Key to a Successful Move
Disasters and Healthcare: Are you Ready?
Meet the Inventor of NEXTGENPCR [Interview Part 1 of 2]
Special Thanks to Our Platinum Sponsors
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Chapter Officers


Regent (California - Southern)
Ellen Zaman, FACHE
Children's Hospital Los Angeles


Darrell Atkin
Darrell Atkin Associates


President Elect
Dasha Dahdouh
Rady Children’s Hospital / County of San Diego


Immediate Past President
Nia Price
California Baptist University

Spshelle Rutledge 
National University

Amy Kasahara 
UC San Diego Health


Howard Salmon


Board of Directors

Membership Co-Chair
Angela Rivera
CTG HealthCare Solutions

Membership Co-Chair
Allison Noel
ECG Management Consultants

Programs Co-Chair
Jared Vogt
Rady Children’s Hospital

Programs Co-Chair
Jennifer Arevalo

Marketing Co-Chair
Shawn Amirhoushmand
Generations Healthcare-Friendship Manor Nursing

Marketing Co-Chair
Michelle Martin
Casa Palmera Treatment Center

Career Development Co-Chair
Andrea Gonzalez
Scripps Health

Career Development Co-Chair
Edwin Kofler
UC San Diego School of Medicine

Volunteer Coordinator
Vicki Shumulinsky
West Health

Barbara Gerber
Devon Hill Associates, LLC

Imperial County Liaison
Shiloh Williams
El Centro Regional Medical Center

Military Liaison
Jose PonCevega
Naval Medical Center San Diego

VA Liaison
Sara Bass
VA San Diego Healthcare System

Subcommittee Members

Diversity Council
Melody Schiaffino
San Diego State University

Annual Conference
Johan Otter
Scripps Health

Annual Conference
Michael Van Gorder
Rady Children’s Hospital

Michael De Castro
ECG Management Consultants

Social Media
Alice Dang
Scripps Health

Sarah Bass
VA San Diego Healthcare System

Ada Clark
VA San Diego Healthcare System

Early Careerist Network
Melinda Hudson
UC San Diego Health

Early Careerist Network
Amy Shackleford
UC San Diego

Executive Program
Steve Martin
TRICARE Regional Office

Executive Program
Nora Bota
County of San Diego

Advancement Study Group
Jose PonCevega
Naval Medical Center San Diego

Advancement Study Group
Edwin Kofler
UC San Diego School of Medicine

Graduate Program Council, San Diego State University
Brandy Lipton
San Diego State University

Graduate Program Council, UC San Diego
Robert Kaplan
UC San Diego School of Medicine

Graduate Program Council, National University
Peggy Ranke
National University

Student Liaison, San Diego State University
Sarah Norwood

Student Liaison, UC San Diego
Celerina Cornett

Student Liaison, National University
Aubrianna Butler

Graduate Student Initiative, San Diego State University
Caitlin Cole


College Bowl
Peggy Ranke
National University

Senior Advisors Council
Mary Parra
Neighborhood Healthcare

Mark Campbell
TRICARE Regional Office – West

Alice Dang
Scripps Health

Aaron Byzak
Galvanized Strategies

Chisun Chun
Rady Children's Hospital

Legal Counsel
David Balfour
DiCaro, Coppo & Popcke

Website Manager
Carol Cannizzo
IKOR International

Disasters and Healthcare: Are you Ready?

The following article was contributed by SOHL-sponsor, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, and written by Kathy Wood, PhD, FHFMA, Contributing Faculty Member. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article represent those of the author and not necessarily SOHL.


According to Santhanam (2017), the United States is on track to set a record with an enormous number of natural disasters. As of October, there have been natural disasters including coastal storms, freezes, flooding, wildfires, and droughts.  What does this mean for healthcare organizations?

All four of the University of St. Augustine campuses were impacted by these natural disasters, as were students and faculty. Some students and faculty were displaced from their homes; others lost their homes entirely; some even lost their lives.

Natural disasters come with great unpredictability and power, leaving people unprepared and in shock after seeing the damage that they produce. In addition to treating patients, healthcare organizations have found themselves in a position of providing shelter and basic needs for many of their geographical neighbors.

Here are some guidelines for being prepared for disasters.

Organization is Key

In order to prepare for disasters, natural and other, it is important that healthcare organizations have a disaster plan that is well documented and that they practice the steps they will take. The most important piece of disaster preparedness is making sure the patients are properly taken care of, including their diagnosis, treatment, and follow up. For this to happen, healthcare organizations must have a method of entering the patient into their “system” so the procedures and care process can begin.

During disaster scenarios, typical procedures such as looking up patients in the master index will not be possible, especially if the individual arrives incapacitated or unconscious. Instead, a numbering system can be used as a temporary measure to get the patient entered. The patient access and financial services personnel will be able to follow up once the crisis has subsided.

Collaborative Efforts Needed

Staffing needs will increase during a disaster.  A properly prepared disaster plan for a healthcare organization includes having access to a backup or reserve medical and administrative staff network. The credentialing committee can implement a policy for temporary privileges during emergency or disaster situations.

The intensity of the patient care activities during this time may be much more like an emergency department than a typical patient care floor. Consequently, healthcare organizations should provide additional advanced training to prepare personnel.

Key staff members, usually directors or mid- to high-level managers, should be assigned specific tasks during disaster situations. Their primary responsibilities are to keep the process flowing as smoothly as possible, handle press requests, keep the patients and family members as calm as possible, and meet the needs of the clients.

Disasters can bring out both the best and the worst in people. The best happens when others lend a hand to help with the situation and take care of their neighbors. The worst is the panic that seems to overcome many people leading to irrational behavior. This is where training can help mitigate the chaotic atmosphere.

Prepare, Plan, Practice, Repeat

Advanced planning and practice is necessary so that when an emergency arises the healthcare staff is prepared. In my previous experience at a medium-sized hospital, we practiced drills for disaster preparedness similar to the practice for fire and tornado drills. Walking through an emergency operations plan in advance of a real situation allows the personnel to encounter problems that could occur during a real disaster and allows for further refinement of the processes.

Executive leadership should consider allocating funds in advance for additional resources during disasters. Think outside of the box when anticipating needs. For example, if the area is flooding and water has been contaminated and power is off for a lengthy period, the people nearby may depend on the nearest hospital to provide for their basic needs, especially if that hospital is located in one of the highest points in the area. 

The reality is, in many cases, the daily operations for patient care and patient billing usually win out over the budget requests for emergencies. Disaster planning should also include situations where the healthcare facility itself is the victim of a disaster rather than the place where the victims can come for treatment and refuge.

As is common in healthcare, there are national requirements set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission to consider as you develop your plan. The Office of Emergency Preparedness of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a vast database of resources available for preparedness and disaster response planning, as does the American Hospital Association.

Taking steps now to prepare for an emergency operations plan will pay off for all involved when one eventually occurs.

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