Pennsylvania Association of

Community Health Centers

Supporting Pennsylvania's health centers in increasing access to quality primary health care for all

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Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers serves as the collective voice for Pennsylvania's Federally Qualified Health Centers (FHQCs), FQHC Look-Alikes (FQHCLAs), and non-profit Rural Health Clinics (RHCs).  Our members are unique nonprofit primary care facilities that provide a wide array of services to Pennsylvanians in underserved areas of the state. There are nearly 300 sites in 52 counties serving over 800,000 Pennsylvanians.  At these primary care facilities, patients will receive high quality care at a price they can afford with sliding fees based on income and family size.

PACHC News

Monday, November 06, 2017

Preparedness Key to Effective Disaster Response

In recent months, we have witnessed the devastation caused by natural disasters and man-made catastrophic events. Health centers play a vital role in their communities when an emergency strikes.  What will be your health center's response?  ECRI has provided this checklist to support the coordination of strategies to mitigate the effects of disaster, aid the management of emergency relief, and enhance collaboration with community partners to maximize available resources.

  • Identify and prioritize responses to hazards based on the severity and likelihood of risk. Conduct a health hazard vulnerability assessment to determine situational hazards and priorities, and identify any gaps that may hinder effective response.
  • An emergency plan that includes participation in a statewide or regional health coalition with stakeholders.  The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania in partnership with the PA Department of Health coordinates the regional Health Care Coalitions in PA.
  • Electronic health records (EHRs) must have a recovery plan to back up data and prevent loss of vital operational information. Access to patient information within EHRs allows continuity of care and patient tracking.
  • Train staff on the emergency preparedness plan and response procedures based on individual roles and responsibilities. Conduct regularly scheduled testing and exercises to increase competency and readiness and to evaluate the effectiveness of the emergency plan.
  • Develop a strategic communication plan for information sharing and coordination between the health center's leadership team, employees and volunteers, patients, and the community. Ensure the communications plan keeps the flow of information open and clear among all parties.
  • Anticipate and manage stress experienced by frontline staff during disaster recovery. 
For more information, see Resources at Your Fingertips published by HHS ASPR, the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) and NACHC's lessons learned from health centers.
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