VA Maryland Health Care System
VA Maryland Health Care System Serving as the Region’s Federal Coordinating Center
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System has been named a Federal Coordinating Center (FCC), a federal organization—under the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). The NDMS is a federally coordinated system that augments the nation's medical response capability, supporting military, state and local authorities when existing local medical capabilities are overwhelmed due to a catastrophic disaster and a national medical response is needed.
The VA Maryland Health Care System is responsible for the coordination of planning and operations of receiving medical evacuees and injured from other sections of the country in the event of an attack or a natural disaster. In its role as the FCC, the VA Maryland Health Care System would take the lead in coordination of the response. This includes receiving, triaging, transporting and tracking the patients to local NDMS hospitals capable of providing the required definitive care. To achieve this mission, the VA Maryland Health Care System collaborates with federal, state and local agencies within the Baltimore Metropolitan area.
“We’re thrilled to be named as the FCC. Our employees have already begun embracing their responsibilities and developing a suitable response plan in the event the VA Maryland Health Care System is activated in the role of FCC,” said Dennis H. Smith, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “It is a great honor to have the administrative responsibility for patients evacuated to Maryland from a domestic emergency and for any family members traveling with them. We are humbled that the VA Maryland Health Care System has been tasked with organizing and leading the response to help evacuated inpatients who cannot be cared for in the disaster area and to get them to the necessary medical care in the Baltimore Metro area and ensuring that any attendants and/ or pets traveling with them will also be welcomed.”
As the FCC, the VA Maryland Health Care System must ensure that all FCC-related staff, members of the federal, state and local governments, and private sector personnel receives appropriate training and education in the operation of the FCC. To achieve this, representatives from the VA Maryland Health Care System partnered with representatives of Department of Human Resources, Department of Defense, Maryland Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Maryland Hospital Association, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, Baltimore Regional Incident Management Team, Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Maryland NDMS partner hospitals to conduct its first training exercise at the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport on May 12, 2012. The exercise tested the ability of multiple agencies to work as a cohesive team, unloading ill and injured patients from an air craft and smoothly and safely transporting them to area medical centers for continuation of care.