Resources

Emergency Preparedness: How Does Your Facility Stack Up?

April 10, 2012

Recently, the Michigan Department of Community Health, Office of Emergency Preparedness (MDCH), and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), issued joint guidelines for skilled nursing facilities’ (SNFs) participation in emergency preparedness. Whether an emergency directly affects an SNF and its residents, or an SNF is asked to assist others in the State directly impacted by an emergency, SNFs need to know how to respond quickly and effectively. Emergencies are no time to “figure it out” while the health and safety of your residents and staff hang in the balance.

In order for SNFs to conform to the State’s guidelines, they need to develop policies and procedures, make key strategic and business decisions, and always filter these decisions through the lens of ethics. SNFs that fail to plan, can plan to fail. As we learned from the criminal prosecution of the owners of the St. Rita Nursing Home in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, failure to comply can kill residents and ruin the reputations of SNF owners and operators. Don’t let the next epidemic, tornado, or man-made disaster catch your SNF unaware.  

Dykema is uniquely poised to assist SNFs in this renewed governmental call to action. Joanne Lax, one of the Firm’s long-term care team members, has extensive experience in SNF emergency preparedness. Ms. Lax has a thorough understanding of the infrastructures that SNFs will need in order to effectively and efficiently address emergencies and disasters. Importantly, she understands how SNFs will connect with the larger public health community to respond to such situations. Ms. Lax is widely recognized—both “on air” and “in print”—for her knowledge of these and other related issues.

Ms. Lax is the author of the long-term care chapter of the book Community Pan-Flu Preparedness: A Checklist of Key Legal Issues for Healthcare Providers, published by the American Health Lawyers Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, she has delivered several presentations addressing emergency preparedness programs for such organizations as the American Health Lawyers Association; Aging Services of Michigan (f/k/a Michigan Association of Homes and Services to the Aging); LeadingAge (f/k/a American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging); and the State Bar of Michigan’s Health Care Law Section. Ms. Lax also participated in drafting a Michigan health care institution’s policy on the ethical and just allocation of scarce critical resources during the anticipated H1N1 outbreak, and assisted in preparing comments to the State of Michigan’s proposals for statewide resource allocation.

For questions about compliance with the State’s guidelines, or for assistance in developing a careful, integrated and realistic disaster preparedness plan in conformance with MDCH and LARA’s guidelines and initiatives, please contact Joanne Lax at 248-203-0816.


As part of our service to you, we regularly compile short reports on new and interesting developments and the issues the developments raise. Please recognize that these reports do not constitute legal advice and that we do not attempt to cover all such developments. Rules of certain state supreme courts may consider this advertising and require us to advise you of such designation. Your comments are always welcome. © 2012 Dykema Gossett PLLC.

As part of our service to you, we regularly compile short reports on new and interesting developments and the issues the developments raise. Please recognize that these reports do not constitute legal advice and that we do not attempt to cover all such developments. Rules of certain state supreme courts may consider this advertising and require us to advise you of such designation. Your comments are always welcome. © 2018 Dykema Gossett PLLC.