Delmarva Regional Healthcare
Mutual Aid Group
Delta Development Group conducted a Pandemic Influenza Tabletop Exercise for the Delmarva Regional Healthcare Mutual Aid Group (DRHMAG) that was designed to initiate a discussion of the medical surge capabilities of the healthcare system on the Delaware, Eastern Shore of Maryland, and Eastern Shore of Virginia Peninsula. The exercise provided participants the opportunity to explore medical surge plans, policies, and procedures through an examination of a response to a pandemic influenza scenario. Most importantly, as the regional healthcare networks and their catchment areas cross state lines, fundamental issues needed to be addressed: Would critical medical supplies held at a vendor’s warehouse in one state be shipped to healthcare facilities in another or be used where it was stored? Could licensed medical professionals be shared across state lines? Would patients who were thought to have the pandemic strain of influenza be allowed to cross into another state for treatment, or would they have to stay in their home state even if that meant a longer trip or lesser ability to provide care?
Delta’s team of subject-matter experts and exercise professionals created a discussion-based exercise in accordance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program. By working with local healthcare and non-healthcare planners, participants increased their awareness of who the stakeholders throughout the region were; evaluated regional, state, county, agency, and facility Emergency Operations Plans as they related to pandemic issues; and increased interagency communications within the response group.
Networking among the healthcare and non-healthcare responders in the region was the most immediate result. An energy and desire to maintain communications and continue the discussions addressed in the exercise was prevalent. Using this energy, an aggressive and advanced planning, training, and exercise agenda for DRHMAG has been developed that will guide the organization for the next several years.