New York State is launching a statewide emergency location tracking system to ensure the safety of patients and residents when healthcare and human services facilities are forced to evacuate as a result of a natural disaster.
The New York State Evacuation of Facilities in Disasters System (NYS e-FINDS) is a secure, confidential, fast and easy-to-use statewide solution that will provide real-time access to healthcare and human services patient and resident locations in an emergency.
Under this new system, all facilities will use barcode wristbands pre-printed with the facility name for all patients and facility residents, except for facilities such as substance abuse treatment programs where confidentiality requires that facility names be excluded. Patient and resident locations can be updated and tracked using hand-held scanners, mobile apps, or paper tracking (if power and/or phones are out of service).
NYS e-FINDS will provide patient tracking to hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities overseen by the Department of Health; state developmental centers and many certified residential homes overseen by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities; residential treatment programs overseen by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services; state psychiatric facilities and licensed residential programs overseen by the Office of Mental Health; supportive housing overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and juvenile justice facilities operated by the Office of Children and Family Services.
During Superstorm Sandy, more than 13,000 patients and residents were evacuated from State-regulated and State-run facilities, including more than 7,100 from hospitals and nursing homes. When these storms struck, there was no statewide system in place to track vulnerable patients and residents who had to be transferred to alternative locations due to flooding, power outages or damage to facilities.