When the Bells Toll: Engaging Healthcare Providers in Catastrophic Disaster Response Planning

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Catastrophic disaster planning and response have been impeded by the inability to better coordinate the many components of the emergency response system. Healthcare providers in particular have remained on the periphery of such planning because of a variety of real or perceived barriers. Although hospitals and healthcare systems have worked successfully to develop surge capacity and capability, less successful have been the attempts to inculcate such planning in the private practice medical community. Implementation of a systems approach to catastrophic disaster planning that incorporates healthcare provider participation and engagement as one of the first steps toward such efforts will be of significant importance in ensuring that a comprehensive and successful emergency response will ensue.