Project Details

Pennsylvania Department Of Health
Emergency Plan Development, Revision, and Synchronization Process 

PA DOH Emergency Plan Development, Revision, and Synchronization Process

The Challenge
As the primary agency responsible for coordinating the state’s preparedness for, response to, and recovery from public health emergencies, the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s (PA DOH) Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) sought assistance to review and assess PA DOH’s current state of emergency planning, and to establish an enterprise-wide process for plan alignment, development, revision, and synchronization. A key lesson learned from the 2009 Novel Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic was that Pennsylvania needed to improve the alignment of public health emergency plans with planning efforts from the state to local levels. This planning process needed to conform to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and other agency guidance and regulation on emergency preparedness activities and emergency management programs.

The Solution
Delta assigned one of its emergency management experts to the OPHP work site on a full-time basis to lead the project’s implementation and execution. Delta began the project by researching applicable plans, planning guidance, applicable grant program guidance, and other documents as they pertain to public health emergency preparedness planning, and applying these standards and benchmarks to PA DOH’s emergency plans. Delta presented a full report of strengths and areas for improvement to key PA DOH staff.

The Result
Based on the above tasks and its expertise in emergency planning, Delta devised and documented a planning process to create new plans and to align and consolidate the many plans that OPHP is already required to maintain. The planning process stresses the inclusion of interdisciplinary stakeholders and alignment of regional, county, and local emergency plans with the Commonwealth’s strategy. Using a regular planning cycle of one or two years in length (depending on the specific document), the planning process allots one-quarter of the cycle to plan development and drafting, two-quarters to educating stakeholders and aligning their plans, and one-quarter to testing and exercising the plan.

Delta provided added value to OPHP during this project by assisting in the revision of the Pennsylvania Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Plan. Delta helped OPHP to consolidate the Commonwealth’s SNS Plan and plans, policies, and procedures created in response to the 2009 Novel Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic to create the Mass Distribution of Medical Countermeasures annex to the PA DOH Emergency Operations Plan. This consolidation demonstrated several of the concepts described in the newly created planning process document, proving its effectiveness and efficiency. Delta also assisted OPHP in ensuring that the plan met CDC requirements, and collecting documentation in preparation for the 2010 CDC Technical Assistance Review.