EAST BAY: New Communication System Will Help During Disasters
In an effort to better prepare themselves should a disaster strike the Bay Area, hospitals in Alameda and Contra Costa counties have agreed to adopt a microwave-based emergency communications system that will enable them to coordinate resources, the Contra Costa Times reports. The ReddiNet II system -- already in place in Los Angeles and Orange Counties -- transmits data via microwaves, versus telephone lines, to ensure that communications are not disrupted or garbled. Hospitals will also "be able to send a message instantly to every other hospital" in the area, rather than "make nine phone calls to find available bed space." Art Lathrop, director of Contra Costa's emergency medical services, said, "It won't create more hospital beds, but it will help hospitals keep track of where resources are available." San Ramon Regional Medical Center is the only hospital in the two counties that has not yet agreed to install the system, citing the need to wait for budget approval. The program, which will cost each participant roughly $28,000, plus a $600 quarterly fee, should be installed sometime this fall, depending on Federal Communications Commission approval (McMillan, 8/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.