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NYSDOH Winter Weather Guidance For Health Centers

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is recommending that providers take the below actions to best prepare facilities for upcoming Winter Weather Season.

For All Providers:

Leadership and staff at all facilities and agencies should review their Emergency Response and Evacuation Plans to ensure procedures are up to date, understood by staff and contact information for all key staff and response partners is current, and be ready to activate these plans when needed. Plans for ensuring adequate staffing should be reviewed, and should include the following:

  • The use of redundant communications if normal mechanisms are impacted

  • Necessary notifications and alerts to staff

  • Adjustment of shifts and management of staffing shortages due to transportation impacts

  • Securing needed supplies and preparations for staff that remain on site if roadways are not passable

  • Process for bringing in and housing additional staff prior to a storm to ensure sufficient coverage during the storm event and recovery period

  • Emergency power

During and following a storm, providers experiencing prolonged power outages or other storm impacts should make requests for assistance through their local county Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or should contact their county OEM if the EOC is not activated. Those providers located within the five (5) boroughs of New York City who need services or supplies, should contact NYC Emergency Management. It is important to note that facilities should primarily plan to gather necessary resources prior to the storm from their normal suppliers and rely on resources from their local OEM as a primary source of pre-storm supplies. Please also notify CHCANYS EM Team.

Critical Health Commerce System (HCS) Applications Used During Emergencies:

Every provider must ensure that all computers and network infrastructure, necessary for disaster response, are supported by generator power. The NYSDOH HCS is used for critical communications and data sharing during emergencies. Several key response agencies, including NYSDOH, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH), other NYS and NYC agencies, emergency response partners and healthcare trade associations, rely on data gathered within several key applications accessed on the HCS.

Every provider must ensure they have staff with active, (current password) HCS accounts, who are assigned to the roles (indicated below) in the HCS Communications Directory, that grant access to each of the following HCS applications:

  • The HCS Communications Directory – assure that all business and emergency contact information for key facility, administrative staff is up to date in the HCS Communications Directory. This contact information is the main data source used by the NYSDOH alerting and notification system for sending emergency and informational notifications to providers and conducting one on one communications and discussions where needed. If this data is not up to date, providers may not receive key information. The HCS Communications Directory role that has access to make role assignments for their facility is the HPN Coordinator.

  • The Health Electronic Response Data System (HERDS) - HERDS surveys may need to be conducted to capture important information regarding a provider’s status during an emergency and providers must be able to respond to any survey that might be activated.

The HCS Communications Directory Roles that enable staff to access HERDS include: HERDS Data Manager, HERDS Data Reporter, HERDS Survey Reporter, Administrator, HPN Coordinator.

Please review additional information and details in the New York State Department of Health Guidance Below:

Download PDF • 163KB

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