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.
- Continuity of Operations directives, templates, and guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Disaster Mental Health: A Critical Response: A Training Curriculum for Mental Health and Spiritual Care Professionals in Healthcare Settings from the University of Rochester Medical Center – 2006 (PDF | 19 MB)
- Disaster Mental Health Services: A Guidebook for Clinicians and Administrators from the Homeland Security Digital Library – 1998
- Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters from the National Acadamies Press – 2015
- Hospital Continuity Resources from the California Hospital Association
- New Hampshire Disaster Behavioral Health Response Teams from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
The SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) also helps local entities deliver an effective mental health and substance misuse response to disasters.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has developed criteria for CCBHC certification. Access the complete CCBHC certification criteria – 2016 (PDF | 789 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.