July 1, 2013

Affinity Health System trains to deal with disaster

Wisconsin health care providers attend national training program

07 / 01 / 2013

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For more information contact: 
Michelle Yandre, Media Relations 
Affinity Health System 
(920) 250-2594 
(920) 554-0686 (pager)

Menasha, Wis. – Affinity Health System recently attended a week-long training program with 43 health care and hospital facilities across Wisconsin at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Ala.

The CDP provides emergency responders with the skills they need to respond to and manage incidents. It is fully funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so participants can attend at no cost to their employers.

Affinity sent 18 employees to participate in the event, where attendees received extensive training related to their professions before coming together for a simulated terrorist exercise. They joined 134 personnel from 43 health care and hospital facilities across Wisconsin.

“This training was invaluable to our facilities, our community and our entire state,” said Deb Cross, director of emergency management for Affinity Health System and vice-chair for region six Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Preparedness program. “Training is key to success. We don’t always have the opportunity to do this level of training because it’s costly for our communities to put on their own mock disasters.”

For the Wisconsin group’s mock disaster scenario, multiple attacks on a subway system required officials to triage and treat more than 300 patients, who were portrayed by role players and mannequins. Participants engaged in patient triage, patient tracking, hazmat, caring for patients and incident command activities.

“We were given intense training in a state-of-the-art facility where we were taught and trained by expert instructors and put through multiple exercises of domestic terrorists attacking local infrastructure that led to a variety of injury types and death,” Cross said. “The event was incredibly real and intense.”

There were three courses featuring only Wisconsin health care partners, which is a first for the CDP. Groups participated in a number of events, including one that donned personal protective equipment in 90-degree weather while another group coordinated emergency management resources.

For more information about training or FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, visit cdp.dhs.gov.  


The Affinity Health System team takes a picture at the CDP in Anniston, Ala. First row: (from left) Deb Cross, Diane Schanke, Patty Comperini, Carlene Enama, April Schumacher, Dan Smith, Stacy Thiel, Tammy Hintz. Second row: (from left) Kent Katalinick, Traci Behnke, Laura Ruys, Tom Laabs, Robert Black. Back row: (from right) Brandyn Behnke, Linda Vanstippen, Carl Mohl, Joe Schweda, and Scott Thompson.


For the Editor: 
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.

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