DomesticPreparedness met with Kevin Yeskey, M.D., Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Preparedness and Emergency Operations, HHS. A high-level HHS preparedness official gives his views on improvements to the department’s preparedness and emergency operations programs; the transfer of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) from DHS to HHS; NIMS compliance efforts; and state drug and vaccine distribution programs.
An Overview of Preparedness and Emergency Operations
Coordinating planning and response. Instituting real-time tracking for regionalized logistics assets. Enhancing state and local response capacity with the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center. The importance of the HHS Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT) team leader.
The Transfer of NDMS to HHS
The transfer of the National Disaster Medical System and the Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) from DHS to HHS. The 250-bed non-acute care capability made possible through the Federal Medical Station program.
Training and Exercises
NorthCom’s Ardent Sentry, Pinnacle 2007 continuity of operations plan (COOP) exercise and Washington’s June 2007 Top Off 4 exercise. NIMS training. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) hospital-level exercises on hospital preparedness.
National Incident Management System (NIMS)
HHS’s integration of mass-casualty preparedness activities with NIMS. Inventorying resources for NIMS compliance.
Drug and Vaccine Distribution
SitRep on the Cities Readiness Initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The range of distribution options available to states. Pre-deployed community-based caches available under the HRSA Cooperative Agreement program. The upcoming CDC report on pre-event placement of pharmaceuticals in individual households. The CDC monitoring networks: BioSense for hospitals; PulseNet for food; and the Laboratory Response Network.
Dr. Kevin Yeskey, acting director of the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations and acting deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Preparedness and Response of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is former director of the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine in the School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). A graduate of Brown University, Yeskey received his medical degree from USUHS, and is board-certified in emergency medicine. While on active duty with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) he served in a variety of disaster-response positions, including duty as senior medical policy advisor in the Response Division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as director of the HHS Office of Emergency Response, and as director of the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also appeared before Congress as an expert witness in the field of bioterrorism preparedness. The author of several textbook chapters and journal articles, Dr. Yeskey is the recipient of the Surgeon General’s Medal for Exemplary Service and of several USPHS and Department of Defense Awards.