OEM coordinates disaster response and support missions that aid VA facilities and the nation's communities striken by disasters and emergencies disrupting healthcare services.
Supporting VHA Facilities
OEM is distributed nationwide to assist VHA facilities to develop and expand their resilience and disaster response capabilities. OEM has nine regional offices, positioned to serve all VHA facilities, as well as to coordinate with other federal response agencies in both planning and response.
Preparing Our VHA Team
Developing VHA response and recovery capabilities requires periodic assessment, intelligent investment, promotion of best practices, training, and exercises. OEM performs all of these functions through its various Comprehensive Emergency Management Programs (CEMP).
VHA Office of Emergency Management
The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is the program office for the VHA Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP), and thus has overall responsibility for CEMP program development and implementation. In an emergency or disaster, OEM coordinates essential VA emergency medical response and support services at the local, regional, and national levels to ensure the health and safety of our Veteran patients and their families, staff, and visitors, and continued delivery of VHA health care services.
4 Phases of CEMP
In the VHA Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP), OEM addresses all four phases of emergency management cycle:
Mitigation/Prevention = efforts to reduce the impact of disasters. OEM programs evaluate facility resiliency and fund improvements to critical systems that keep facilities operating in disasters.
Preparedness = development of plans, resources, and capabilities to manage and recover from the impacts of disasters. OEM programs assess capabilities; establish policy and guidance; train staff and promote best practices; coordinate execises to test capabilities; provide systems, equipment, and funding to ensure VHA is properly equipped;
Response = activities to stop and reverse the adverse effects of disasters or emergencies on services and operations. OEM coordinates VHA response and recovery operations in support of affected VHA facilities by providing assistance in the form of resources, critical commodities and utlities, communicatons, personnel, and response teams. OEM also delivers and coordinates VHA support to our nation's communities affected by nationally-declared disasters.
Recovery = both short and long term restoration of the capabilities impacted by emergencies and disasters. OEM response support operations transition to recovery support operations once the hazards of the disaster have been stabilized. Long term recovery may require alternate or improved facilities, which links to mitigation. It also includes analysis of lessons learned for improvement of response capabilities, which links to preparedness.
VHA's Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP) focuses on improving VHA disaster resiliency and response capabilities.
CEMP elements focusing on improving the capabilities include:
- Exercise development & coordination
- Developing and expanding resilient communcations
- Developing situational awareness communications systems
- Performance Improvement Management System (PIMS)
- Fielding response and recovery assets and equipment
- Quality Program ensures ongoing improvement of CEMP
OEM's Field Program staff located throught the nation provide direct assistance and support to VHA facilities and networks for the enhancement of emergency program capabilities and to provide disaster response support when needed.
Components of this program include:
- Field Services Program
- On-site assistance
- On-site training
- Capabilities Assessment Program
- Exercise coordination
- Coordinating National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) patient reception operations
- Emergency Management Program Guidebook (PDF 4.12mb; March 2011)
OEM delivers and coordinates VHA support missions for VHA facilites affected by disasters, and also performs missions assigned to VA by FEMA or US Dept. of Health & Human Services for response to and recovery from nationally-declared emergencies and disasters.
OEM's capabilities for response & recovery include:
- Coordination of VHA-level incident response operations
- Patient reception under the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)
- Mobilization of support personnel through DEMPS
- Mobilization of mobile response/recovery assets
- Mobilization of VHA's incident management & response teams
- Coordinating resource sharing within VHA through the Emergency Mobile Asset inventory (EMAI)
Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP)
OEM provides a full range of support to VHA facilities and Headquarters Program Offices--across all 4 phases of emergency response--to ensure resiliency, continuity and rapid recovery of VHA healthcare services to our nation's veterans during disasters and other potential disruptions to healthcare service delivery.
- Policy & planning guidance
- VHA emergency operations plans
- Response personnel & teams
- Systems and processes
- On-site support
- Program assessment
- Exercise coordination & development