Contact: Lauren Brendel, M.S.
BOZEMAN, MT [March 5, 2020] — Bozeman Health is actively coordinating their communication, preparedness, and response activities for COVID-19 and formally activated their health system Incident Command structure on February 10, 2020. While there are no patients currently being evaluated, Bozeman Health’s Incident Command remains active to scale their response in anticipation of potential cases, due to increasing global spread of COVID-19.
Over the last several weeks, the Bozeman Health COVID-19 Response Team, led by Kallie Kujawa, System Director of Quality and Safety, Dr. Mark Winton (Infectious Disease and Travel Medicine Specialist), Dr. Eric Lowe (Emergency Medicine), and the Infection Prevention Specialists has prepared the health system for a possible COVID-19 pandemic, with the assistance of others in the Incident Command team.
Birgen Knoff, System Director of Clinical Practice and Emergency Operations Manager, has been partnering with the COVID-19 Response Team to continue to build a systemwide structure to coordinate entity activities as well as coordinate with the Montana State Healthcare Coalitions, EMS, and city and county agencies, including Gallatin City-County Health Department. The many other critical members of the COVID-19 Response Team have been and continue to be incorporated into the Incident Command structure.
Formal situational reports and on-demand communication (including emails, phone calls, meetings, etc.) are regularly being shared with Bozeman Health employees and medical staff to keep all Bozeman Health employees and medical staff providers informed about the rapidly changing environment.
“We extend our most sincere thanks to the many employees and medical staff who continually exhibit a high-quality, safe, and expert environment for all employees and patients throughout Southwest Montana,” stated Kujawa.
Bozeman Health General Emergency Preparedness
Bozeman Health provides expert, quality care to patients each and every day. Emergency preparedness is an important component of our daily operations to assure we are able to provide optimal care to both patients and staff in any situation.
Bozeman Health has an emergency preparedness plan that was developed using best practice materials from FEMA, along with an emergency preparedness team that regularly meets and conducts emergency response drills at entities throughout the health system.
An important component of Bozeman Health’s emergency preparedness plan is a close working relationship with Gallatin City-County Health Department, Gallatin County Emergency Preparedness, and other partners including Montana State University, which Bozeman Health maintains through active participation in the All-Hazards All Disciplines (AHAD) quarterly meeting held by Gallatin County Emergency Preparedness. Participation in AHAD includes training classes, conducting drills and tabletop exercises and collaboration on process and procedure for handling incidents or emergency situations as a larger community.
More than 20 Bozeman Health leaders and clinical team members have completed comprehensive training in Healthcare Leadership in Mass-Casualty Incidents at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama in the past year as part of continuous emergency preparedness training and development efforts. Much of the work required for emergency preparedness is done behind the scenes but is a critical component of Bozeman Health’s day-to-day operations.
Healthcare Incident Command Structure
Bozeman Health utilizes the standardized FEMA hospital incident command structure which works within the framework of the National Incident Management System to ensure they are organized in their approach to the situation and are partnering with other agencies in the community as needed.
Bozeman Health has and will continue to stand up Incident Command whenever activation of the emergency operations plan is warranted in response to a situation. Incident Command is a component of an emergency operations plan that ensures primary activities or functions necessary to effectively respond to incidents are appropriately identified, resourced, and managed.
Gallatin City-County Health Department is the best resource for public health information. Bozeman Health has added information to their website, BozemanHealth.org, regarding COVID-19 preparedness and will continue to add content appropriately.