Comparison of disaster preparedness between upstate and downstate community hospitals in New York

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Objective: This study sought to determine whether differences exist in disaster preparedness between Upstate and Downstate community hospitals in New York. Design: A descriptive and analytical cross-sectional survey study was conducted using a 35-element questionnaire. These questions examined six disaster preparedness components: disaster plan development, onsite surge capacity, available materials and resources, disaster education and training, disaster preparedness funding levels, and perception of disaster preparedness. Setting: The population surveyed included community hospitals across New York. Subjects: Invitations to participate in the survey were emailed to the CEOs and disaster preparedness coordinators at 207 of the 208 community hospitals in New York. Eighty hospitals completed surveys, including 41 Upstate hospitals and 39 Downstate facilities. Main outcome measures: Responses to questions pertaining to the six disaster preparedness elements. Results: There were differences in disaster preparedness between Upstate and Downstate hospitals with respect to disaster plan development, available materials and resources, and disaster education and training. No differences were identified in onsite surge capacity, disaster preparedness funding levels, or perception of disaster preparedness. Conclusions: The results demonstrate the current condition of disaster preparedness in Upstate and Downstate community hospitals in New York. Differences in preparedness between hospitals in the two locations may reflect factors such as availability of resources and differing priorities with regard to threat levels. They also suggest opportunities for improvement in disaster preparedness, which may require additional government resources and advocacy organization efforts.

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