North HELP Coalition
The North HELP Coalition is led by the Mount Sinai Health System. The North HELP Coalition is supported by federal funding provided by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and administered by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). The Coalition was founded by a group of health care emergency preparedness experts from various national, New York State, and New York City agencies including:
- ESRD Network of New York
- Lenox Hill Hospital
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- The Mount Sinai Hospital
- National Kidney Foundation
- Live On NY
- NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)
- NYS Department of Health
- The Regional Emergency Medical Services Council (REMSCO)
The North HELP Coalition’s mission is to improve the emergency preparedness of medically vulnerable populations. The Coalition provides resources and education to patients with special medical needs and their providers to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster.
The North HELP Coalition, established in 2010, originally focused on cancer patients, transplant recipients, and people with end stage renal disease (ESRD) receiving dialysis. Since 2013, the Coalition’s primary focus has been on the dialysis community. From 2017 to 2019, with the support of the NYC DOHMH, we expanded our scope to include patients in opioid treatment programs (OTP).
Dialysis patients are considered a vulnerable population for several reasons, but the primary reason is the reliance on ongoing and frequent care. Dialysis patients face unique challenges during disasters due to this need for uninterrupted access to their facility, care team, and supplies. Since its inception, the Coalition embarked on many initiatives aimed at helping dialysis providers and patients improve their disaster preparedness and resilience.
The North HELP Coalition initiatives include:
- Workshops with healthcare providers and administrators to evaluate risk in order to complete a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA) and write an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).
- Drills and exercises that test communication and coordination with the community and New York City emergency response partners to improve the preparedness capabilities of dialysis center.
- On-site and virtual Patient Outreach PreparednessTraining Program in partnership with the New York City Medical Reserve Corps (NYC MRC) at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), to help dialysis staff educate their patients in emergency preparedness.