Public health emergencies such as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2001 anthrax mailings underscore the immediate and critical need to prepare for a crisis in which many thousands of people suddenly require and seek medical care. Without careful advance planning and coordination at the federal, state, and local levels, there is enormous potential for confusion, chaos, and flawed decision-making. While efforts have been made to develop policies and protocols for standards of care during a crisis at all levels of government, much still needs to be done. Efforts have been taking place mainly at the community level, leading to a lack of consistency across neighboring jurisdictions and unnecessary duplication of effort. Also, many states have not yet developed plans for crisis standards of care.
To address these questions, the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events hosted a series of regional workshops in Irvine, CA; Orlando, FL; New York, NY; and Chicago, IL, between March and May of 2009. The goal of each workshop was to learn from the work already being done to develop state, regional, and local crisis standards of care policies and protocols; to identify areas requiring further development, research, and consideration; and to facilitate communication and collaboration among neighboring jurisdictions. This report summarizes the discussions that took place at all four workshops.