Healthcare Ready – What it Is and What it Does | Citizens Against Government Waste

Healthcare Ready – What it Is and What it Does

The WasteWatcher

Healthcare Ready, a non-governmental organization, “helps to strengthen healthcare supply chains through collaboration with public health and private sectors by addressing pressing issues before, during, and after disasters.”  It was first established as Rx Response soon after Hurricane Katrina demolished the southeastern coastal areas of the United States.  Original founders were healthcare leaders such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American, Healthcare Distribution Management Association, the American Red Cross, and organizations within the biotech industry and the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Executive Director Nicolette Louissaint, who was then the director of programing in 2016, wrote in the July Japan Medical Association Journal that “When Hurricane Katrina struck the southeastern United States in August 2005, there were very big problems regarding response to the disaster, such as poor communication between the government and the private sector, conflicting information due to this lack of coordination, and delays in correspondence.”  She noted that since 92 percent of our healthcare system is the private sector it was important that strong relationships are developed during normal times between the private sector and government before a disaster strikes so that during and after there are quick responses to solving problems and continued learning and preparing.  By making these connections, Healthcare Ready is an educator, a facilitator, and problem solver for the federal government, states, and local communities, from public health officials to citizens.

For example, one thing people can do is find out which pharmacies are open in areas impacted by a disaster. The map is now open for the COVID-19 pandemic but will also open on a state by state basis, depending on the emergency.  Also, through a state-by-state guide, people can find out what their local prescription medication laws are in an emergency and obtaining prescription refills for non-controlled and controlled drugs, getting insurance waivers to assist with payments, and requesting early refills. 

Local public and healthcare officials, elected representatives, community organizations, and citizens can find information on many subjects like the basics on the coronavirus, global response efforts, travel restrictions, supply chain operations, and humanitarian assistance.  For example, there is a “COVID-19 Resources for Community and Patient Organization” toolkit for finding support, information, supplies, and resources available from Healthcare Ready and a similar toolkit gaged toward elected officials.

This is another example how our country’s private healthcare businesses and organizations came together after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005 and created a system that helps them prepare and connect with healthcare professionals and government officials for future disasters and emergencies, like fighting COVID-19.