Is Your Agency Prepared for Hurricane Season? Stay Safe & Compliant with WatchPoint AtRisk Registry

Emergency preparedness has always been a crucial aspect of healthcare delivery in the United States. With the advent of the WatchPoint AtRisk Registry (ARR), a cloud-based system designed to monitor and coordinate the evacuation of vulnerable individuals during disasters, local, state, and national initiatives have gained a powerful tool to ensure the safety of at-risk populations. In this blog post, we will explore the mission and features of the WatchPoint AtRisk Registry and its impact on emergency preparedness, with a particular focus on how it can mitigate the effects of hurricane seasons.

The experts at the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, have released their highly anticipated forecast for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. According to NOAA, the 2023 season, spanning from June 1 to November 30, is expected to bring near-normal hurricane activity, however, while the outlook reveals a 40% probability for a season that aligns with historical averages, there’s still a 30% chance of an above-normal season. Along with NOAA reports of the highest ocean temperatures ever recorded for the month of May, may make this one of the deadliest hurricane seasons on record. 

The WatchPoint AtRisk Registry aims to become the go-to repository for real-time monitoring, tracking, and coordinated evacuation of the most vulnerable individuals in the U.S. healthcare system during a disaster – including hurricanes. It encompasses various categories, including home-bound patients, hospital patients, people on life support, those residing in dangerous weather zones, seniors in assisted living communities, people with disabilities, and children and adults with special needs. The registry is integrated into national, state, regional, and local entities, enabling efficient activation during both event-driven emergencies and continuous patient monitoring.

Initially developed by mumms Software in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the WatchPoint AtRisk Registry emerged as a response to the realization that numerous vulnerable, critical-care, home-bound patients were unknown to responsible agencies. Since its implementation, the registry has proven highly effective and reliable, leading to its adoption as a mandatory component of Louisiana’s disaster readiness plan. With comprehensive reporting, communication, and coordination capabilities, the WatchPoint AtRisk Registry facilitates collaboration between agencies at all stages of an evacuation.

The WatchPoint AtRisk Registry plays a critical role in local planning efforts preceding an emergency event. It enables healthcare providers to track at-risk patients and provide regular updates to local emergency management directors. This streamlined data exchange ensures accurate resource allocation planning well in advance. Furthermore, the registry allows authorized emergency medical services (EMS) staff to access patient data securely, promoting patient confidentiality and advanced planning. Local emergency managers gain an aggregated view of individuals requiring assistance during emergencies or evacuations.

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a final rule on emergency preparedness, establishing consistent requirements for seventeen provider types participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The WatchPoint AtRisk Registry aligns with these requirements, allowing providers to achieve compliance as part of their CMS Condition of Participation. The rule mandates the development of emergency plans, policies and procedures, communication plans, and training and testing programs, all of which can be facilitated through the registry.

Implementing the WatchPoint AtRisk Registry offers two primary advantages. First, it is a proven, operational system that has been successfully deployed statewide for over a decade. Second, the registry facilitates seamless data transfer and cooperation among agencies involved in incident command structures at local, state, and national levels, streamlining the flow of patient information during training exercises and actual emergency scenarios.

The WatchPoint AtRisk Registry represents a significant advancement in emergency preparedness for the U.S. healthcare system. By providing real-time monitoring, tracking, and coordination of vulnerable individuals during disasters, the registry ensures that no at-risk population falls through the cracks. Its integration with local, state, and national initiatives empowers emergency personnel to access critical information and provide optimal care during evacuations. With hurricane season and other potential disasters looming, the WatchPoint AtRisk Registry stands as a vital tool for safeguarding the most vulnerable members of our communities.

For more information please email Crystal Birmingham at c.birmingham@mumms.com