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Developing a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)

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A continuity of operations plan (COOP) helps certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) prepare for emergency or disaster events.

Emergencies and disasters can affect all aspects of CCBHC operations, including therapeutic services, continued supply of medications, building structure, and utilities. The stability of CCBHC consumers and the well-being and availability of staff can also be affected. The CCBHC criteria include specific requirements for developing a COOP.

The essential functions and personnel required for the maintenance of daily operations under normal, non-emergency conditions remain the essential requirements for operations under emergency and disaster conditions. For this reason, preparations must be made in advance of emergencies to ensure that the CCBHC maintains operational stability on behalf of its consumers when a disaster or emergency occurs. A COOP helps to prepare the CCBHC for emergency and disaster events.

Resources for Developing a COOP

The following resources can help CCBHCs gain a comprehensive understanding of the many components that need to be in place to ensure continued access to services after an emergency or disaster. These resources include plan templates and tools; potential community health care delivery sources and social services partners; and local, state, and federal partners that could provide uninterrupted services to the CCBHC’s consumers.

The SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) also helps local entities deliver an effective mental health and substance misuse response to disasters.

Requirements From the Criteria

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has developed criteria for CCBHC certification. Access the complete CCBHC certification criteria – 2016 (PDF | 755 KB).

The criteria include the following requirements related to developing a COOP:

Program Requirement: Availability and Accessibility of Services

2.a.8. CCBHCs have in place a continuity of operations/disaster plan.

Program Requirement: Staffing

1.c.1. Among other things, training must address the clinic’s continuity plan, and that training occurs at orientation and thereafter at reasonable intervals as may be required by the state or accrediting agencies.

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