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Indiana State Department of Health

Public Health Preparedness Home > Providers Providers

Health Care Provider Guidance

For private physician practices and clinics there are several ways you can help after a disaster in your community. First you must make sure your regular patients can be cared for. History shows people who are injured in a disaster are most likely going to try to go to the doctor or clinic they know. After you have a plan for what to do about your regular patients, then you can think about how you can help the larger community.

Preparedness Planning for Your Practice

At-Risk Populations

Certain patients require a little extra thought and preparation for care after a disaster. When you are providing care for at-risk populations, make sure they have a plan for disaster response if they have to fend for themselves. Do they have extra medical supplies, medications, oxygen? Do they know who to call if they need help? Then keep a list of your priority at-risk patients so you know who is mostly likely to need help after a disaster.

HIPAA
After a disaster some HIPAA regulations may be relaxed in order to locate displaced persons or to gain important health information about disaster victims.
http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/special/emergency/decisiontoolintro.html

Bioterrorism
Bioterrorism continues to be a threat to all communities in the United States. Sometimes bioterrorism attacks are announced by the perpetrators and sometimes they are not. You may be the first person to identify an unusual collection of symptoms in your patients. Many bioterrorism agents present initially with symptoms of influenza. Become familiar with the differential diagnosis for bioterrorism agents.