Evacuations From Fires Run According to Plan for Medical Facilities
Evacuation plans ran smoothly this week for nursing homes, hospitals and other medical facilities in the wake of the San Diego County wildfires, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Across the county, evacuations occurred at:
- 14 nursing homes with almost 1,200 residents;
- Two acute-care hospitals;
- A psychiatric hospital; and
- 85 assisted-living facilities with almost 2,200 residents.
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of the Center for Healthcare Quality at the California Department of Public Health, said that one hospital and 11 nursing homes have been authorized to reopen (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 10/26).
A new emergency prescription history service has been activated for physicians in California to access displaced patients' prescription data after President Bush declared a state of emergency in the area, Health Data Management reports.
The In Case of Emergency Prescription, or ICERx, history program and secure Web portal were created earlier this year by several national pharmacy chains and electronic prescription network vendor SureScripts to offer clinicians access to patient pharmacy records during emergencies. The program was built off of KatrinaHealth.org, which was created to increase access to electronic patient data of those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
ICERx now has been activated for the first time to let physicians access prescription information for patients in seven California counties affected by the wildfires (Health Data Management, 10/25).
The program is designed to help health professionals coordinate care and renew prescriptions for evacuees, while avoiding potential errors and dangerous drug interactions, Healthcare IT News reports. The site will provide licensed health providers with:
- Outpatient prescription histories;
- Available patient clinical alerts; and
- Clinical pharmacology drug reference information to pre-registered providers.
Those participating in ICERx.org include community pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers and state Medicaid programs (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 10/25).
Meanwhile, many medical centers reported an increase in patients with respiratory ailments and other injuries caused by the wildfires, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
For example, at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, more than half of its emergency department patients this week had wildfire-related conditions.
The majority can be treated and released, according to the Union-Tribune (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/26).