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Reopening Shuttered Hospitals to Expand Surge Capacity

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which was discontinued on June 30, 2011, in a realignment of Federal efforts.

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Table 17. Summary of Current Status of Former 'Shuttered' Hospitals for Use as Surge Facilities in a Mass Casualty Event

Topic Typical Status at Partially Shuttered Hospital Additional Needs for Surge Use

Facility Structure and Status

The condition of structural components, fixed equipment, and systems is generally good enough such that they could be brought to full operation status within the 3-7 days.  Design and layout are well suited for intended medical use.

  • Fuel.
  • Refrigerated space for morgue.
  • Replacement of outlet parts may need to be brought in. Information and communications systems would need to be re-established.
  • Licensure of life safety systems, elevators, isolation rooms, may need to be re-certified.

Equipment and Supplies

There is limited available equipment and supplies.

Most equipment and supplies would need to be brought in:

  • Patient beds.
  • Linens.
  • Bathroom amenities.
  • Pharmaceuticals.
  • Portable storage units.
  • Portable oxygen.
  • Water.
  • IT/communication equipment.


Existing staff employed by companies/individuals that leased space in building. Only Security staff is possibly available.

Most staff would need to be brought in:

  • Physicians.
  • Physician extenders.
  • Nursing staff.
  • Allied health staff.
  • Ancillary staff such as security, laundry and kitchen staff.

Patient Transportation

Facility sufficiently close to a city, so transportation would be sufficiently expedient. Facility is available by bus, ambulance, van, and helicopter.

  • Combination of buses, vans of ambulances will be used to transport patients.
  • A standardized medical record for transfer and emergency provision of uncommon medications to be transported with patients would expedite patient transport and ensure quality care.

Patient Information

Little information technology remaining in facility.

  • A paper records system would be used.
  • It would need to be determined who owns these medical records.

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