CHA News Article

800 People Gather to Advance Hospital Disaster Preparedness
Betsey Lyman announces retirement

More than 800 people, including hospital staff and local and state officials, joined together at the largest gathering of hospital responders in the state. The three-day Disaster Planning for California Hospitals conference, held this week in Sacramento, was designed to help hospitals enhance their disaster-preparedness efforts.

Conference highlights included a panel presentation on Crisis Standards of Care led by Eric Weiss, MD, medical director for the Office of Emergency Management, Stanford University Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Weiss was joined on the panel by Howard Backer, director of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority; Ann Weinacker, MD, chief of staff, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and Christy Sandborg, vice president of medical affairs, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Panel members offered practical advice on how to approach the difficult medical, legal and ethical decisions that must be made in a disaster when operating with scarce resources.

Keynote speakers Comilla Sasson, MD, and Patrick Conroy with the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) received a standing ovation for their presentation recounting the hospital’s response to the Aurora theater shootings. With a completely full ER, the hospital received 23 patients, some with multiple gunshot wounds. Calling the situation “focused chaos,” the hospital cited its extensive disaster planning as a major reason 22 patients survived. “It is absolutely clear that the overall response from the entire UCH family was nothing less than extraordinary,” Sasson stated. 

During a luncheon presentation, Betsey Lyman, deputy director, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Office, California Department of Public Health (CDPH), announced her retirement from CDPH. Recognizing the accomplishments that the Hospital Preparedness Program has made over the past eight years, Lyman stated she “leaves with enormous pride in the accomplishments we have achieved together.” Cheri Hummel, CHA’s vice president of disaster preparedness, thanked Lyman for her vital support of the CHA’s HPP, which includes partial funding of the annual conference.

To view a slide show of other conference activities, visit Conference presentations are available for download at www.calhospital/disaster-planning-downloads.