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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Laboratory Emergency Preparedness. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Emergency Management

Emergency management is planning for, responding to, and recovering from an emergency event. While disaster planning has been a requirement of laboratory accrediting agencies, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published new requirements for emergency management. The goal of these new standards is to "maintain access to health care services: human resources, business continuity, and physical resources." These new regulations can be accessed at:
The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), The Joint Commission (TJC), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) have included requirements for laboratories to have disaster plans for many years. Previously, when the "disaster plan" was tested, the event most frequently involved a mass casualty (also known as surge) situation, where the resources of the organization were challenged by receiving a large number of casualties over a relatively short time period. Over the past few years, events such as terrorist attacks, hurricanes, spring floods, tornados, and influenza epidemics have led to some healthcare facilities’ inability to provide needed medical services. In addition, the failure of critical utility services (eg, electricity and water), loss of computer systems (hostage, malware, fire, etc.), and the inability to obtain supplies to operate (eg, manufacturer's backorders or FDA-ordered shutdowns) have resulted in compromised patient care and even forced closure of medical facilities. Planning has moved from disaster planning to emergency management: How to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all at risk emergency events. The new term used for the plan is a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).