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 BP5 funding cycle began July 2016 and will conclude June 2017, and is the fifthyear of a five-year grant. The grant amount for BP5 for Virginia is $6.1 million. Of that amount, $5.8 million has been allocated to VHHA and its members. The goal of the ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program grant is to enhance capabilities in the following areas:

  • 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

In BP1, the ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program grant will commence July 2017 and conclude June 2018. The grant amount for BP5 for Virginia is $6 million. Its goal is to enhance capabilities in these areas.

  • Foundation for Healthcare and Medical Readiness
    • Establish and operationalize a healthcare coalition
    • Identify risks and needs
    • Develop a healthcare coalition preparedness plan
    • Train and prepare the healthcare and medical workforce
    • Ensure preparedness is sustainable
  • Healthcare and Medical Response Coordination
    • Develop and coordinate healthcare organization and healthcare coalition response plans
    • Utilize information sharing procedures and platforms
    • Coordinate response strategy, resources, and communications
  • Continuity of Healthcare Service Delivery
    • Identify essential functions of healthcare delivery
    • Plan for continuity operations
    • Maintain access to non-personnel resources during an emergency
    • Develop strategies to protect healthcare information systems and networks
    • Protect responders’ safety and health
    • Plan for an coordinate healthcare evacuation and relocation
    • Coordinate healthcare delivery system recovery
  • Medical surge
    • Plan for medical surge
    • Respond to medical surge

ASPR’s Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities grant commenced Mary 2015 and will conclude may 2020 (a five-year grant project period). the total grant amount for Virginia is $6.9 million that has been allocated to VHHA, the regions, and the designated assessment and treatment facilities. The goal of the ASPR Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities is to enhance various capabilities in preparing for emerging infectious diseases:

  • 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 through which 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.

Additional projects that we continue to work on:

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

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 GIS mapping, and the availability of message boards are just a few of the functions built into the system. 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 Staff: Kelly Parker, Director, Emergency Preparedness,, (804) 965-1225.