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Should the government fund evacuation plans?
A recent report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) suggests that the federal government should help fund a national system for moving and tracking patients during a disaster.
The AHRQ report proposes collection of information on patients and evacuees in a timely manner as they move or are transferred from one location to the next. The report estimates that initial development and testing of this plan would cost as much at $1.5 million to put in place.
Phase 1 of the project would test the collection of basic data needed in a mass evacuation, such as numbers of beds available to house evacuees, transportation resources, and medical and identification information for evacuees. AHRQ recommends that subsequent phases of the project focus on improving the quality of health care and transportation availability data that can be used to regulate and manage resources during a disaster. (To see a copy of the report go to www.ahrq.com, select "public health emergency preparedness on left navigational bar, then scroll down to "surge capacity" and select "Recommendations for a national mass patient and evacuee movement, regulating, and track system.")