Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (MRMC) organizations are committed to providing services and ensuring the safety of patients, visitors and employees during a disaster or other emergency situation.
On-campus organizations of MRMC include Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin, Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin, Curative Care Network, and the Milwaukee County DHHS Behavioral Health Services.
MRMC’s organizations collaborate on emergency preparedness with local police and fire departments and the community. Their preparedness includes planning of and participation in annual campus-wide disaster exercises, development of campus emergency coordination and emergency communication plans and staffing of 24/7 on-call disaster response positions to ensure an integrated response.
This type of prepared response is especially critical for MRMC as eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center where both an adult Level 1 Trauma Center and pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center are located. Because of its key role, MRMC also works with other organizations in the southeastern Wisconsin region and the state to improve disaster preparedness and response efforts.
Campus Emergency Notification Process
MRMC has developed a unique emergency notification system that uses a standardized communication protocol and alerting system to notify all of the entities on campus—as well as identified external partners—of an event that has the potential to impact the normal operations on or near the campus.
Tabletop and Full-Scale Exercises
Annual disaster exercises are a federal requirement for all hospitals in the U.S., but MRMC’s emergency preparedness initiative is a collaboration rarely found in other parts of the country. MRMC’s combination of separate hospitals, clinics, a medical university, research facilities and health service providers in a single location provides a unique opportunity in disaster medicine. The campus’ member organizations conduct disaster exercises multiple times each year to practice and coordinate response measures and remain prepared to respond to a real large-scale emergency. This includes tabletop, functional and full-scale exercises.
Tabletop exercises involve using written scenarios to discuss processes, plans and actions that would be taken in a real event. Functional exercises test a specific area, group or process. Full-scale exercises involve actual use of personnel and equipment from throughout the organization to respond to staged incidents and treat simulated live-actor patients. This allows our members to test their ability to safely manage their operations and provide treatment for a large influx of potentially seriously ill or injured patients in a short timeframe. All of this improves MRMC’s ability to coordinate resources and response for the full scope of a major incident.
Regional Emergency Preparedness
Health care readiness also increases overall community resiliency. MRMC actively participates in the Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP), which supports health care sector emergency preparedness planning and response to mass casualty or other medical disasters. MRMC is also a member of the Southeast Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (SE HERC Region 7). HERC Region 7 works to promote the southeast Wisconsin region’s health care readiness, and is designing a response and recovery framework for use during and after an emergency.
Demonstrated Leadership During Emergency Situations
Froedtert Hospital activated its emergency response system during an influx of patients who were the victims of two mass shooting incidents just two months apart in 2012, one at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in August, and one at Azana Salon & Spa in October.
During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Froedtert Hospital and Children's Wisconsin were among 35 hospitals across the U.S. designated as Ebola treatment centers.
Hospitals with Ebola treatment centers were designated as able to care for patients with Ebola Virus Disease. This was based on a collaborative assessment with local and state health authorities and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working with the campus hospitals.