HAP Blog

Apply COVID-19 Lessons to Your Hazard Vulnerability Analysis

April 01, 2021

On November 16, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ emergency preparedness rule became effective and a total of 17 provider types had to be in compliance by November 15, 2017. One of the requirements was for facilities to create a hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA) and conduct exercises based off of the results, in order to better prepare for disasters.

An HVA is a systematic approach to prioritizing hazards that may affect the demand for your services or your ability to provide your services at your facility. Essentially, it is a breakdown of what potentially can go wrong at your facility or near it—whether natural or man-made disaster—and how much of an impact it will have on day-to-day operations, property, or the people who rely on you. 

For most facilities, a good HVA provides a roadmap for preparing for crises. It helps you determine your level of preparedness to address a disaster that may cause an impact on safety or services occurring at or near your facility. When fully completed, the HVA will show you what your overall risk is for that specific disaster. From that data you will be able to see where your focus areas of improvement are as a facility. Think of it as an internal audit of preparedness.

COVID-19 has shifted the way that we plan for and respond to crises, and—once we enter the recovery phase of this crisis—you likely will need to revisit your HVA to account for systemic changes and lessons learned.

Here are three considerations to help you adapt your HVA:

Think about paradigm shifts

Something to think about though when filling out your new HVA is accounting for remote employees. A Gartner survey of company leaders found that 80 percent of employers plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part time after the pandemic, and 47 percent will allow employees to work from home full time. These work-from-home positions carry their own risks as they could cause your systems to become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Another potential risk is the loss of productivity due to power outages at home or possibly the Internet being down, to name a few. These all will need to be taken into account when completing your new HVA in a post-COVID-19 era.

Leverage the tools at your disposal

It is possible that COVID-19 has changed your situation so much that a brand new HVA is the best solution to planning for the future. Regardless of whether your HVA needs updating or an entire redrafting, there are tools to help you.

The Kaiser Permanente HVA can provide an excellent roadmap for your facility. It recently was updated to include more possible risks and better data outputs, and you can adapt this model by adding your own risks.

Additionally, as our workplaces become more spread out and collaborative, you will need a tool that helps you access the information you need from your mobile device. The HAPevolve Portable Response Emergency Plan (PREP) allows you to create and view your facility, county, and coalition HVAs, through an easy-to-use, shareable interface. And, thanks to the PREP app, everyone in your facility is working off of the same up-to-date document, so you don’t have to worry about someone viewing outdated—and potentially incomplete—drafts.

Look to outside expertise

While COVID-19 has impacted all of us, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to how you approach the next version of your HVA. While we are trained to think objectively about the risks we face, many of us can benefit from another perspective to see our blind spots. This is why the best HVAs likely will have received input from experts from outside of the facility.

For example, jurisdictional emergency management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and state agencies may have quantitative and qualitative probability and impact data based on risk assessments and actual events that can contribute to the facility HVA. This information will prompt further discussions which will provide valuable input for your facility in preparing your HVA.

If your facility needs help, HAP’s emergency management team, through HAPevolve, can assist your facility in determining next steps for your HVA and how best to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. Our nationally renowned team has decades of experience in planning for and responding to disasters of every type, and we can bring that knowledge to your facility.

For more information, contact CJ Sabo, HAP’s emergency manager, or Joe Tibbs, HAPevolve’s president.



Please login or register to post comments.