Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Grants

The primary vehicle through which hospital emergency preparedness activities are funded is the Hospital Preparedness Program under the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since its inception in 2002, the ASPR grant has been administered through a contract between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and VHHA. As VDH’s subcontractor, VHHA works with its member hospitals through a regional structure that includes, in each of the state’s six regions, a Regional Healthcare Coordinating Center (RHCC) designed to act as a hub in the event of a public health emergency. Preparedness planning, drills and budget development all take place through this regional structure.

ASPR’s Hospital Preparedness Program BP4 funding cycle began July 2015 and will conclude June 2016, and is the fourth year of a five-year grant. The grant amount for BP4 for Virginia is $6.3 million. Of this amount, $5.8 million has been allocated to VHHA and its members.

ASPR’s Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities grant began May 2015 and will conclude May 2020 (a five year project period grant). The total grant amount for Virginia is $6.9 million which has been allocated to VHHA, the regions and the designated assessment and treatment facilities.

The ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program grant has as its goal the enhancement of capabilities in the following areas for BP4:

  • Healthcare System Preparedness
    • Healthcare Coalition Development
    • Healthcare Coalition Planning
    • Management of Assets and Services
    • Healthcare Coalition Gap Analysis
    • Training and Education
    • Exercise and Evaluation
    • Medically Vulnerable Populations/non-hospital projects
  • Recovery
    • Healthcare Coalition Recovery
    • Healthcare Facility COOP Planning
  • Emergency Operations Coordination
    • Resource Coordination
    • Demobilize and Evaluate Healthcare Operations Post Event
  • Fatality Management
    • Family Assistance Centers
    • Mental/Behavioral Health Coordination
  • Information Sharing
    • Situational Awareness
    • Communication Systems
  • Medical Surge
    • Pre-Hospital EMS Operations
    • Surge Capacity and Capability
    • Crisis Standards of Care
    • Evacuation and Shelter In Place Operations
  • Responder Safety and Health
    • Pharmaceutical Protection for Healthcare Workers
    • PPE for Healthcare Workers During Response

Additional projects that we continue to work on:

  • Regional Healthcare Center Coordination
  • Situational Awareness
  • Sustainability
  • Healthcare Resiliency
  • Long Term Care Preparedness
  • Enhancements of the Virginia Healthcare Alerting and Status System (VHASS)
    • Patient Tracking

The ASPR Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities grant has its goal the enhancement of capabilities in the following areas:

  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Training and Education
  • Exercises
  • Physical Enhancements

Hospital Emergency Management Committee (HEMC)
VHHA established the first Hospital Emergency Management Committee (HEMC) more than 10 years ago. Its role is to serve as a strategic policy advisory group focusing on emergency preparedness issues generally and ASPR grant requirements specifically. It is intended to:

  • Provide opportunities to maximize regional collaboration and cross-fertilization regarding best practices, resource utilization, etc.
  • Ensure that regional initiatives support overall statewide objectives while reflecting regional differences and needs.
  • Provide a venue where regional representatives, on behalf of their coalitions, can communicate with VDH/VHHA staff regarding how ASPR grant objectives are met and how priorities are set.
  • Communicate with VDH/VHHA staff regarding the development of budget instructions each year.
  • Review data in mid-year and end-of-year ASPR reports to assess progress and identify areas that require additional focus or resources.
  • Ensure that ASPR grant objectives are being met.
  • Advise the Virginia Department of Health and other state entities as appropriate regarding hospital preparedness issues.

The voting members of HEMC consist of two representatives from each of the six hospital regions designated by their respective regional preparedness committees.

Virginia Hospital Alerting and Status System
Using resources available through the ASPR grant, VHHA has worked with VDH to develop the Virginia Hospital Alerting and Status System (VHASS), a premier web-based tool to aid in real-time information sharing during a public health emergency. VHHA encourages all individuals at its member facilities with responsibility for emergency preparedness to register on the site Registration allows participating members to report and share information on emergency operations. Clinical status, facility demographics, bed availability, diversion status and the availability of Hospital WebEOC are just a few of the functions built into the system. The Hospital WebEOC page provides statewide and regional event tracking boards, resource status and request boards, helicopter EMS information for air transport services, mapping, healthcare facility status and other critical information for incident monitoring and response. VHASS also includes emergency messaging and alerting capabilities, a Patient Tracking System that ties directly to Virginia’s 2-1-1 System Call Centers, resource allocation information and a document library.


VHHA Liaison: Morris Reece, Technical Advisor, ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program, (540) 562-3482