Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner


Disaster Alternate Care Facility Selection Tool

A public health emergency can strain the capacity of hospitals and other traditional venues for medical services. In such emergencies, it may be necessary to select alternate facilities for providing medical care during a public health emergency within a small geographic area. The user enters the actual features of each site under consideration and rates the necessity of various features for a given emergency. The tool automatically produces a comparison of the suitability of all sites entered.

To be able to fill in the information needed for this tool, planners will need to conduct preliminary site assessments of the facilities being considered as alternate care sites.

On the "Enter Necessity Levels" Page:

  1. Rate the level of necessity for each factor in the five categories:
    • Site Infrastructure
    • Total Space and Layout
    • Utilities
    • Communication
    • Other.

    The necessity level can be a value from 0-5, where 0 = Not Necessary, 3 = Desired, and 5 = Required. These values serve as weighting factors for each characteristic. They need be filled out only once for all sites being evaluated for a particular incident.

  2. Save the "Necessity Levels" at the bottom of the page. You will lose your entries if you do not save them.

  3. Proceed to the “Enter ACF Profiles” page.

On the "Enter ACF Profiles" Page:

  1. At the top of the page on the left, enter the name, address, latitude, longitude, etc., for a potential facility. Latitude and longitude can be supplied to emergency response units to help them find the ACF. A possible source to use to learn your facility’s longitude and latitude is: Exit disclaimer icon

  2. For your own information, indicate the intended uses for the site by checking the appropriate boxes under “Please check any boxes below that apply to this ACF.” Boxes under “Based on an initial evaluation, please check any boxes below that describe how this ACF could be used” are to be filled out after results are calculated.

  3. As with the Necessity Levels, five categories of rating factors are listed — Site Infrastructure, Total Space and Layout, Utilities, Communication, and Other. Choose the “Site Rating” box for each rating factor to rate that factor for this facility.

    Choose “2” if that factor is present at the facility.
    Choose “1” if the factor could reasonably be accommodated at the facility.
    Choose “0” if the factor is not present and could not be supplied at this facility.

  4. Choose the “Save This ACF” button at the bottom of the page. You will lose your entries if you do not save them. When you save the entry, the name of the facility will appear at the top of the page. To return to that facility’s information, choose the name of the facility.

  5. Enter additional ACF profiles by repeating the steps above for each site you are considering. Entries for the previous site will still show in the entry blanks. As long as you have saved those entries, you can overwrite them with information on the next site. Be sure to remove any information that applied only to the previous entry.

    Remember to save each entry before starting another entry or leaving the page.

  6. Go to the “Site Summary” page.

On the “Site Summary” page:

  1. The tool automatically calculates a cumulative site rating and weighted score for each category of factors and for each ACF overall (site rating multiplied by necessity level).

  2. Based on the results on the “Site Summary Comparison” page, you can now go to the ACF Facility page and select any boxes at the top right of the “Enter ACF Facility Profile” page that describe how this ACF could be used.

NOTE: Although the automatic calculation feature of this tool enhances its utility, the tool also may be used by printing out the forms and filling them in manually.

Proceed to Necessity Levels

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care