US, citing 'urgent' need, calls on hospitals to improve disaster plans
Federal officials are proposing sweeping new requirements for American health care facilities — from large hospitals to small group homes for the mentally disabled — intended to ensure their readiness to care for patients during disasters. Describing emergency preparedness as an "urgent public health issue," the proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services offers regulations aimed at preventing the severe disruptions to health care that followed Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. More than 68,000 institutions would be affected, including large hospital chains, "mom and pop" nursing homes, home health agencies, rural health clinics, organ transplant procurement organizations, outpatient surgery sites, psychiatric hospitals for youths and kidney dialysis centers.
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