Preparedness for Hospitals & Health Care Professionals

Preparedness for Hospitals & Health Care Professionals

Health care professionals protect the health of Vermonters through efforts to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, infectious disease, terrorism and mass casualty emergencies. The Health Department supports these efforts in many ways: it serves as the coordinating unit for the Public Health and Medical Services support partner in the State Emergency Operation Center, maintains the Vermont Health Alert Network, and serves as the grantee for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the U.S. Health & Human Services health preparedness grants. The Health Department offers technical support for preparedness such as planning, exercises and training so Vermont can be ready if and when emergencies arise.

State Partner Function: Public Health and Medical Services

Health Department staff deploy to the State Emergency Operations Center to work in conjunction with other state support functions activated during an emergency. The Public Health and Medical Services support partner function provides the mechanism for coordinated state assistance to supplement local resources in response to a public health and medical disaster, potential or actual incidents requiring a coordinated state response or during a developing potential health and medical emergency. Services cover the medical needs of people in the “at risk” or “special needs” populations described in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 and in the National Response Framework Glossary, respectively. It includes a population whose members may have medical and other functional needs before, during, and after an incident.

Health Care Professionals can access Public Health and Medical Services staff through the State Emergency Operations Center if activated, or through the Watch Officer Program at Vermont Emergency Management by calling 1-800-347-0488. Please ensure that this information is contained in your response plans.

Vermont Health Alert Network (VTHAN)

The Vermont Health Alert Network (VTHAN) is an alert and mass notification system that improves public health communication and situational awareness within the State of Vermont. For information or assistance, contact the HAN Administrator at:

  1. HAN Center (Log-in and Notification)
  2. HAN Document Management 
  3. HAN Incident Management System (WebEOC)
  4. Resource Management System (EMResource)

If you would like to stop receiving health alerts and advisories, please send a request to

Preparedness Activities & Technical Support

The department supports health care professionals with planning, training and exercising. An important part of all three is guided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Emergency Preparedness Rule.

Ensure you and your facility have all the necessary resources and tools to meet the regulations for the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule, which went into effect in 2016. Surveys started in 2017.

For tips and resources, the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has created a Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE).

The four core elements of the CMS emergency preparedness rule for all 17 provider types include:

  1. Emergency Plan – EOP Tools and Templates, Hazard Vulnerability/ Risk Assessments, Continuity of Operations
  2. Policies and Procedures – Incident Managment
  3. Communications Plan – Information Sharing, Communication Systems
  4. Training and Testing – Incident Command System Training Course for Healthcare/Hospital, Exercise Program

Contact one of our district offices if you have specific questions or need help with any emergency preparedness planning, training or exercises.

For questions or concerns about the CMS regulatory process please email Division of Licensing and Protection Survey and Certification Group at

Crisis Standards of Care

Read the latest Vermont Crisis Standards of Care Plan 

The Vermont Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) Plan is intended to provide an ethical and operational framework for the development of statewide resource allocation and clinical guidelines in the context of a catastrophic disaster or massive public health emergency in which prolonged critical shortages of staffing, medical equipment and/or supplies exist.
Justice is the foundation of the CSC approach to allocation of resources, based on guidelines that promote equitable access to any care from which patients might benefit, and guided by the following ethical principles:
  • Maximization of benefit and avoidance of the worst outcome – Health care resource allocation decisions during disasters and resource scarcity must be guided by the goal to maximize the number of lives saved and suffering reduced.
  • Health equity – Safeguard vulnerable populations and mitigate against structural inequities.
  • Fairness – Every healthcare provider should attempt to be fair to all those who are affected by the disaster, without regard to factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, disability or region that are not medically relevant.
  • Soundness – Resource allocation decisions should be based on medical criteria regarding short-term prognosis in response to intervention not social factors susceptible to bias such as race, sex, religion, wealth, insurance status, profession and beyond.
  • Proportionality – Any reduction in the quality of care provided will be commensurate with the degree of emergency and the degree of scarcity of resources.
  • Solidarity - When there are limited resources, all people must consider the greater good of the entire community.
  • Transparency – Resource allocation plan development should involve publicly disclosed membership and whenever possible should seek input from affected communities, healthcare providers, and emergency management agencies.

This Crisis Standards of Care Plan is a living document; it will be reviewed/revised periodically and as new information becomes available or training and events inform best practice. The Vermont Department of Health Division of Emergency Preparedness, Response and Injury Prevention is interested in all comments or suggestions. Please share any feedback by e-mail at: