FCC Seeks Comments for Blanket Waiver to Allow Amateur Radio in Hospital Emergency Dr

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WB9QZB, Mar 5, 2010.

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  1. N3JHA

    N3JHA Ham Member QRZ Page

    From the AHA website. Sounds like they expect a change in the rules to be forthcoming.

    "FCC seeks comments on blanket amateur radio waiver for disaster drills

    March 03, 2010
    The Federal Communications Commission is accepting comments through April 2 on an AHA request for a blanket waiver to permit hospitals seeking accreditation from The Joint Commission to use amateur radio operators who are hospital employees to transmit communications on behalf of the hospital as part of emergency preparedness drills. Hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission must prepare an emergency operations plan setting forth how the hospital will communicate during emergencies, establish back-up communications links to communicate essential information if primary communication systems fail, and test their emergency operations plans twice annually. The AHA requested the blanket waiver last month as an interim solution to prevent the FCC and hospitals from having to prepare, file and process a raft of waiver requests while the FCC prepares a proposed rule that would allow amateur radio operators who are hospital employees to participate in drills."
  2. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are several alert readers of this thread who are helping the participants find documentation of some of the points discussed.

    I was directed to take a look deeper into the Joint Committee's standards, and indeed, Amateur Radio is among the suggested assets that could be shared as part of an Emergency Communications Plan. It looks like the hobby has been in there a few years, always as a suggested resource.

    In conjunction with a reader's help, I then pursued whether I could find other references beyond the one the AHA's attorney had mentioned in her letter requesting a waiver to the FCC.

    On April 7, 2010, the Joint Commission is planning an event entitled Annual Ambulatory Care Conference.

    Communication During Emergencies is one of the seminars, and the standard known as EM 02.02.01 is a topic of discussion.

    It will be interesting to learn whether they talk about "HAM" radio and the controversy underway about using paid hospital staff to conduct drills on hobbyist frequencies.

    Someone should probably call around, to see whether participants and invited spectators include any ARRL people, or other business leaders from the "HAM" industry with a stake in the outcome of this waiver request.


    Page 1
    2010 Emergency Management Update:
    The Challenging Standards
    Agenda (Subject to Change)
    Wednesday, April 7
    7:00 - 8:00
    8:00 - 10:00
    Emergency Management Standards Update
    10:00 - 10:15
    10:15 - 12:00
    EM.01.01.01 & EM.02.02.03 Advanced Planning
    • EP 8 – Documented inventory of the assets & resources
    • EP 6 - Monitoring consumption of assets
    EM.02.01.01 Emergency Operation Plan (EOP)
    • Six Critical Functions
    • Incident Command Structure
    • Staffing Patterns
    EP 3- 96 Hour rule
    12:00 - 1:00
    1:00 - 2:15 2
    EM.02.02.01 Communication During Emergencies
    • EP 13- Alternate Sights of Care
    EM.02.02.03 Managing Resources
    • EP 5- Sharing resources with other organizations
    • EP 9- Transporting patients, meds, staff, etc.
    2:15 - 2:30
    2:30 - 3:00
    EM.02.02.05 Managing Security
    • EP 2- Roles of community security agencies
    • EP 4- Hazardous waste and materials
    3:00 - 3:30
    EM.02.02.07 Managing Staff
    • EP 7- Staff trained
    • EP 8- LIP roles
    EM.02.02.09 Managing Utilities
    • EP 5- Fuel requirements
    EM.02.02.11 Managing Patients
    • EP 6- Mental health
    • EP 7- Mortuary services
    • EP 8- Documenting and tracking clinical information
    3:30 - 4:00
    Open Forum- Q & A
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  3. WA9ZZZ

    WA9ZZZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Access to documents

    It could be useful to have access to the Joint Commission's standards documents that describe the requirements for backup communications systems. I took a quick look at their web site and it looked like it would take a nearly $500 subscription to get access. And that would be even more stuff to read.
  4. W6EM

    W6EM Ham Member QRZ Page

    A copy of EM02-02-01 is available in an attachment to comments filed in the proceeding. Here is the link: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020395627

    There is a rather expensive standards handbook and is heavily augmented with notes and such. It can be previewed at amazon.com . The actual cited standard, EM02-02-01, does not require use of amateur radio to obtain accreditation. Ms. Welsh's correspondence confuses the reader by implying incorporation of amateur radio is a necessity in order to obtain accreditation.

    Amateur radio is not mentined in the document in the link to the Joint Commission HAP cited in this posting. The standard includes just what is required to achieve accreditation.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  5. KQ4D

    KQ4D Ham Member QRZ Page

    One comment on the FCC site spoke of an Amateur Station installed in a hospital, paid for by a grant, at a cost of over one hundred thousand dollars. This seems a strange cost level for a ham station and is cause for one to wonder just what has transpired with this installation.

    The hospitals have other means of communication, so many I wonder just why the AHA is so interested in having commercial use of the Amateur Service.

    My suspicions are some individuals {hams} are interested in employment in a ‘communication’ job of some kind paid for by grant monies.
  6. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can imagine the "image problem" a high-cost, seldom used station could create for "HAM" radio if one of the talk show hosts wanted a topic of the day to chew on.

    But there's a lot of money coming through the health care industry, and accreditation is one of the ways a hospital corporation can provide the appearance of meeting certain standards.

    This request for a waiver is part of that effort.

    It would be at the expense of radio hobbyists. The cost? We won't know unless it happens.

  7. KB1NXE

    KB1NXE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I only wished the FCC required those hospitals submitting comments included whether they had either a radio system installed or planned and/or hams on the payroll.

    Those would be interesting figures. Imagine, a hospital supporting the waiver but has neither.
  8. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. WA9ZZZ

    WA9ZZZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Planning ahead.

    Supporting the waiver request for possible future use would be a reasonable thing to do.

    You may have noticed a couple more of those standard form letters from hospitals. They all (since they are copies) contain the same errors. I wonder if any of those people signing the letters have any idea what amateur radio is. Or if they even read the letter.
  10. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Interesting development.

    Note however that this specifically applies only to government sponsored drills - i.e. the types of drills that they had previously issued a memorandum about saying that such drills would need waivers on a case by case basis.

    Note also that this would not give the AHA what they are asking for: a blanket waiver for drills even without government sponsorship.
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