National Preparedness Month Spotlight: Administrative Preparedness

Throughout National Preparedness Month, many local health departments will remind their communities about the importance of personal and family preparedness. NACCHO encourages local health departments (LHDs) to also take the opportunity to assess their health departments’ internal preparedness for all-hazards threats, including administrative preparedness.

Administrative preparedness is the process of ensuring that the fiscal, legal, and administrative authorities and practices that govern funding, procurement, contracting, and hiring can be modified, accelerated, and streamlined during an emergency to support public health emergency preparedness response and recovery efforts. While these policies and protocols may seem mundane, they are critical for effective response operations in the event of a crisis. A deficiency in administrative preparedness can delay the acquisition of goods and services, the hiring or assignment of response personnel, the disposition of funding, and legal determinations needed to implement protective health measures during an emergency.

Despite the importance of administrative preparedness, there are challenges across all levels of government. NACCHO’s 2016 Preparedness Profile Assessment shows that more than 40 percent of preparedness coordinators at the local level do not have or are not aware if their health department has administrative preparedness plan in place to expedite hiring, procurement, and contracting during an emergency. Also, CDC reports that around 20 percent of awardees have been unable to reduce the cycle time for hiring and reassignment of staff during an emergency. Other barriers reported by LHDs include inadequate or unclear protocols at the local and state level for issuing and requesting public health emergency declarations, and challenges navigating liability, hiring, and workforce regulations and procedures in order to meet workforce surge demands during an emergency.

Guidance and Resources
The following reports will help LHDs identify strategies and procedures to address challenges in their jurisdictions and integrate administrative preparedness into their operational planning:

NACCHO also created an actionable guide to help LHDs incorporate administrative preparedness processes into drills and exercises.

Additionally, NACCHO partnered with four local health departments in Seattle, New Orleans, Medina County (Ohio), and Mercer County (Illinois) to develop an administrative preparedness toolkit. The toolkit compiles assessment tools, templates, exercise planning documents, and guidance from the demonstration sites and other sources to support health departments assess, implement, and evaluate their administrative preparedness capabilities.

If your health department has any questions about the tools, or would like technical assistance with administrative preparedness planning, implementation, or evaluation, you can reach NACCHO at preparedness@naccho.org.

We want to hear from you!
What on-going challenges or barriers are you facing in planning, implementing, or evaluating administrative preparedness in your health department? Let us know by commenting below or e-mailing preparedness@naccho.org.

About Katie Dwyer

Katie Schemm Dwyer is a Director in NACCHO's Preparedness Division. Her work focuses on supporting local health departments strengthen public health preparedness systems through governance, coordination and liaison with federal preparedness organizations, policy, and program management.

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