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Q&A: NJ Health System CEO's Post-Sandy Appraisal

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 1, 2012

HLM: Who was involved in the evacuation?

"We coordinated this with our EMS community and the National Guard as part of the state response. There was good coordination in advance of the evacuation. But even with good coordination when you are evacuating so many patients it is still a very difficult process. But I was proud of our team and the way they responded."

HLM: Is Hackensack University Medical Center in a safe area?

"We are on pretty high ground on the top of the hill. In Hackensack there are parts that flood, so our biggest issue is getting around the streets when we need to respond to a particular emergency or situation. One reason why we don't have complete power back is that one of our power lines runs through a substation that is currently under water."

HLM: Have you suspended non-emergency operations?

"No. We are moving forward with a full schedule. In fact it is very busy today because there were so many cancellations on Monday and Tuesday. We are fully functional and operational. Most of our operating rooms are on regular power and some of the ambulatory operating rooms are on emergency power but we are able to proceed with a full schedule."

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