New Organization Focuses on Healthcare Emergency Preparedness, Waste

The Healthcare Waste and Emergency Preparedness Coalition (CleanMedWaste.org) has been formed to raise awareness and provide education about two major problems facing the health care system today -- health care facility operational sustainability during a crisis and the proper methods of discarding hazardous medical waste.

The coalition consists of hospitals, waste solutions companies, and others who are committed to ensuring a safe and clean medical waste disposal system that fully considers the challenges of maintaining health facility sustainability during emergencies, transportation breakdowns, and patient surges.

"The readiness of our health care facilities should not be taken for granted," said Darrell Henry, executive director of the Coalition. "Our health care system faces serious tests of preparedness and sustainability, especially in the area of managing hazardous medical waste in the time of crisis."

Health care facilities are required to be self-sufficient for several days. Under a wide-spread community problem, the volume of hazardous materials would dramatically increase when a large population suddenly contracted a contagious disease (via Pandemic or Bioterrorism) or incurred a disaster and surged a hospital's capacity. Facilities would be inundated for hazardous storage containers, which would put public health and the safety of health providers at risk, and supply management would be stressed, officials said. This occurred after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav.

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