HCA Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:HCA), one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers, today announced its preparation efforts for the 2023 hurricane season. Each year, the company, through its Enterprise Emergency Operations Center (EEOC), creates and distributes key resources to its facilities to maintain continuity of care across facilities, so that patients and communities can continue to count on HCA Healthcare.
With dozens of hospitals in hurricane-prone regions like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia, HCA Healthcare works diligently to stay up to date on current and expected weather trends. During the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, HCA Healthcare’s hurricane forecasting partner currently predicts there will be approximately 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes.
HCA Healthcare’s disaster response starts long before a hurricane makes landfall. On May 31, the company held its annual enterprise-wide hurricane readiness briefing to update and equip hospitals ahead of the season. Hospital, division and corporate leaders met to be educated on the season’s weather outlook, review the company’s 2023 Hurricane Playbook and prepare for the upcoming season.
“We owe it to our patients to be able to care for them when it is needed most,” said Sam Hazen, chief executive officer of HCA Healthcare. “Our preparedness efforts are a prime example of how we’re showing up for our patients, colleagues and communities.”
The Nashville-based EEOC responds to approximately 900 events annually and is comprised of nearly 200 multi-disciplinary leaders, including risk management, clinical experts, supply chain, patient logistics, air and ground transport and community liaison representatives. During hurricane season, EEOC leaders leverage strategic partnerships with weather forecasting agencies and utilize real-time alerting technology to continuously monitor threats and evolve response plans and programs. As soon as the EEOC identifies a potential severe weather event, HCA Healthcare begins preparations to help provide affected hospitals with everything they need to continue providing care.
Working across HCA Healthcare’s network, the EEOC can redirect the company’s supply chain to get medical supplies, equipment and care teams to impacted areas to offer assistance. The EEOC prepositions resources, including temporary generators, bulk water and fuel supply. This year, HCA Healthcare is stationing Incident Support Unit Trailers equipped with 3,000 Flood Control Barriers and storm readiness equipment, in both its Gulf Coast and West Florida divisions.
In the event of an evacuation, the company uses EvacuNATE, an algorithm developed by HCA Healthcare, which helps to reduce hospital evacuation time using real-time triage data to track every patient’s movement and where alternative care is available. To strengthen HCA Healthcare’s ability to respond to emergency events, the EEOC introduced Incident Response Teams in 2020, comprised of skilled clinicians, leaders and executives from across the HCA Healthcare enterprise. In 2022, in collaboration with a strategic air transport partner, the company established a first-of-its-kind Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Incident Support Team (NICU IST) consisting of highly skilled HCA Healthcare nurses and respiratory therapists to help transfer NICU patients during an emergency.
“Our job is to ensure the infrastructure is in place—the supplies, equipment, buildings and everything it takes to deliver care — and that our colleagues and patients are taken care of,” said Michael Wargo, RN, BSN, MBA, PHRN, CMTE, vice president of HCA Healthcare’s Enterprise Emergency Operations & Medical Transport. “We are proud of our response to previous major incidents and strive to make our procedures even more seamless so that continuity of care remains uncompromised.”
For more than 50 years, HCA Healthcare has been preparing for, responding to and learning from various emergency scenarios and extreme weather events like hurricanes. Last year, when Hurricane Ian made landfall on the west coast of Florida as a powerful category 4 hurricane, causing extensive damage to communities in its path, HCA Healthcare jumped into action to care for our patients and communities. Leaders from HCA Healthcare and its EEOC mobilized ahead of the storm to help ensure hospitals had the resources, including medications, food, water and generator power, to care for patients and colleagues. In the aftermath, HCA Healthcare’s human resources and supply chain teams set up on-site mini-marts, fuel stations, showers and laundry services in Florida to assist facilities, colleagues and nearby health systems in need.
HCA Healthcare also announced it would give up to $1.5 million towards disaster relief efforts through donations to the Governor’s Florida Disaster Fund and the American Red Cross as well as colleague matching gifts. The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund, an employee-run, employee-supported 501(c)(3) charity that provides financial aid and resources to employees after an extended illness, injury, disaster or other special situations, provided approximately $1.2 million in grants to colleagues impacted by the hurricane.
Over the last six years, HCA Healthcare has provided more than $5.6 million in financial support to the Red Cross for disaster relief efforts, including Hurricane Harvey in 2017, hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018, and the Texas winter storms and Kentucky tornadoes in 2021 and during historic flooding in Kentucky. For the last four years, HCA Healthcare has contributed a total of $1.75 million to the Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) which helps the Red Cross respond immediately to disasters, helps families during the recovery process and prepares people for future emergencies.
About HCA Healthcare
Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services comprising 180 hospitals and approximately 2,300 ambulatory sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. With its founding in 1968, HCA Healthcare created a new model for hospital care in the United States, using combined resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine. HCA Healthcare has conducted a number of clinical studies, including one that demonstrated that full-term delivery is healthier than early elective delivery of babies and another that identified a clinical protocol that can reduce bloodstream infections in ICU patients by 44%. HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its more than 37 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives. Please click here to connect with HCA Healthcare on social media.
All references to “Company,” “HCA” and “HCA Healthcare” as used throughout this document refer to HCA Healthcare, Inc. and its affiliates.