Mayor Sheila Dixon and the leaders of 11 Baltimore City hospitals announced an agreement for cooperation in the event of a bioterrorist attack or other public health catastrophe, on Jan 23.
“Just as our first responders talk to each other through interoperable communications equipment, this step means that our hospitals can collaborate efficiently in the midst of a serious event,” said Mayor Dixon, in a recent press release.
Four Catholic hospitals including Bon Secours Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Mercy Medical Center and St. Agnes Hospital agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in April 2006.
“The purpose of the voluntary agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) is to ensure cooperation and sharing of medical resources among the Baltimore City hospitals,” said Ken Walsch, director of Quality/Risk Management at Good Samaritan. “With a total of 11 hospitals involved, this agreement represents the largest coordination among healthcare facilities in Maryland.”
The agreement establishes the sharing of supplies, equipment and personal and transfer patients in the event of a disaster. It also addresses expenses, credentials, supervision of physicians and spells out liability, insurance and confidential issues.
“It allows our efforts to be coordinated to better serve the community,” said Thomas Jeffers director of Emergency Management at Mercy Medical Center.
Mr. Jeffers said this agreement will provide care to people when resources will be stretched and allow for the care of patients.
“By working out the complex logistical issues in advance we position our organizations to respond much more quickly in the event a disaster arises,” said Mr. Walsch. “This agreement and some of the work that will be done between the city and the hospitals in the near future, puts Baltimore in a much better position to protect our community.”