Health Care Preparedness & Response Capabilities

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) developed the 2017-2022 Health Care Preparedness and Response Capabilities guidance to describe what the health care delivery system, including Health Care Coalitions (HCCs, hospitals, and emergency medical services (EMS), have to do to effectively prepare for and respond to emergencies that impact the public’s health. Each jurisdiction, including emergency management organizations and public health agencies, provides key support to the health care delivery system.

The four Health Care Preparedness and Response Capabilities are:

Capability 1: Foundation for Health Care and Medical Readiness

Goal of Capability 1: The community's healthcare organizations and other stakeholders - coordinated through a sustainable HCC - have strong relationships, identify hazards and risks, and prioritize and address gaps through planning, training, exercising, and managing resources.

Capability 2: Health Care and Medical Response Coordination

Goal of Capability 2: Healthcare organizations, the HCC, their jurisdiction(s), and the ESF-8 lead agency plan and collaborate to share and analyze information, manage and share resources, and coordinate strategies to deliver medical care to all populations during emergencies and planned events.

Capability 3: Continuity of Health Care Service Delivery

Goal of Capability 3: Healthcare organizations, with support from the HCC and the ESF-8 lead agency, provide uninterrupted, optimal medical care to all populations in the face of damaged or disabled healthcare infrastructure. Healthcare workers are well-trained, well-educated, and well-equipped to care for patients during emergencies. Simultaneous response and recovery operations result in a return to normal or, ideally, improved operations.

Capability 4: Medical Surge

Goal of Capability 4: Healthcare organizations - including hospitals, EMS, and out-of-hospital providers - deliver timely and efficient care to their patients even when the demand for healthcare services exceeds the available supply. The HCC, in collaboration with the ESF-8 lead agency, coordinates information and available resources for its members to maintain conventional surge response. When an emergency overwhelms the HCC’s collective resources, the HCC supports the health care delivery system’s transition to contingency and crisis surge response and promotes a timely return to conventional standards of care as soon as possible.

2017-2022 Health Care Preparedness and Response Capabilities