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Contact:

John Bartimole, President,
Western New York Healthcare Association
Office: 716.695.0843
Mobile: 716.581.0625
jbartimo@wnyha.com

Dawn Rougeux, Regional
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Western New York Healthcare Association
Office:  716-512-7108  
Cell:  716-807-2008
drougeux@wnyha.com

Region’s Hospitals and Health Systems Sign Disaster Aid Agreement

Tonawanda, NY [November 16, 2010] – Western New York hospitals have announced an agreement to provide mutual aid in an emergency or disaster situation that overwhelms the resources of an individual or multiple hospitals.  More than 20 hospitals and health systems in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties have signed the voluntary agreement.  The agreement defines specific guidelines for loaning and receiving medical and non-medical personnel, pharmaceuticals, supplies and equipment in a disaster.  It also addresses assistance with hospital evacuation, including accepting transferred patients. 

The Western New York Healthcare Association, with the cooperation and collaboration of the Regional Resource Center at ECMC, facilitated the development of the Mutual Aid Agreement.  John Bartimole, President of the Western New York Healthcare Association, called an integrated response plan “critically important” and congratulated the hospitals for taking a collaborative regional approach to emergency response planning.

“Tragedies like the flight 3407 crash and challenges like the H1N1 pandemic remind us that it is absolutely essential for us to work together to develop disaster response plans,” Mr. Bartimole said.  The hospitals’ Mutual Aid Agreement is further evidence of the commitment of the region’s hospitals to providing excellent and compassionate patient care, he added.  “No hospital in Western New York is going to say ‘no’ when another hospital asks for help in a disaster situation.  The Mutual Aid Agreement puts that commitment on paper.  Bottom line, it’s all about keeping our patients safe and providing them with the best care possible.  That’s the goal of every hospital.”

According to Dawn Rougeux, Regional Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Western New  York Healthcare Association, the agreement formalizes the longstanding but unwritten understanding that hospitals will assist one another when needed.  “In Western New York we plan, prepare and exercise for disasters, both as individual hospitals and with our community partners.  This agreement is an important component of our hospitals’ comprehensive emergency management plans.”

“Signing this agreement was the obvious and right thing to do,” said Ronald Krawiec, President and CEO of Wyoming County Community Health System and chair of the Western New York Healthcare Association Board of Directors.  “It’s important that our patients, staff and community know that we have detailed plans in place to protect them in a disaster, and that we’ll gladly assist other hospitals when asked,” Krawiec said. 

The agreement was developed over the past four years, said Daniel McCartan, program coordinator of the Western New York Regional Resource Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response at Erie County Medical Center.  “This Mutual Aid Agreement is the first piece of a plan that will improve and enhance the emergency preparedness capabilities of the hospitals in the region,” McCartan said.  “I see this as another step in the process to better prepare our region, be it for a manmade or natural disaster.”

The next step is the agreement’s Operational Guide, which is expected to be complete early next year.  Combined with Operational Guide, “steps are continually being taken at all of the hospitals in WNY to ensure that the residents of our communities are provided the highest possible level of care in the event of a disaster,” McCartan said.

Participating hospitals and health systems:
Bertrand-Chaffee Hospital, Springville: 716-592-2871 Ext. 1221
Cuba Memorial Hospital, Cuba: 585-968-3877 Ext. 332
Eastern Niagara Hospital, Lockport/Newfane: 716-514-5505
Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo (Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD): 716-898-5503
Jones Memorial Hospital, Wellsville (Judy Burt): 585-593-4050
Kaleida Health System, Buffalo: 716-859-3795
Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Kenmore: 716-447-6279
Lake Erie Regional Health System of NY (Brooks Memorial, Dunkirk; TLC Health Network, Irving):    716-363-7207
Medina Memorial Healthcare System, Medina: 585-798-8101
Mercy Hospital, Buffalo (Melanie Griffis): 716-828-3747
Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Lewiston: 716-298-2146
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Niagara Falls: 716-278-4000
Olean General Hospital/Upper Allegheny Health System: 716-375-6974
Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo (Annie Deck-Miller): 716-845-8593
Sheehan Memorial Hospital, Buffalo: 716-848-2119
Sisters of Charity Hospital, Buffalo/St. Joseph’s Campus, Cheektowaga: 716-862-1901
United Memorial Medical Center, Batavia: 585-344-5415
WCA Hospital, Jamestown (Linda Johnson): 716-664-8614
Wyoming County Community Hospital, Warsaw: 585-786-8940 Ext. 4460 

About the WNY Healthcare Association

The Western New York Healthcare Association is an industry association of healthcare providers in Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties with 19 member hospitals in rural to urban settings. The Association serves as a leading source of advocacy, policy and healthcare information for our members and as an educator, communicator and clearinghouse for healthcare information. While primarily focused on hospitals and affiliated nursing home providers, the Association also has non-hospital associate-level members.
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