Patients at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and Bella Sera Skilled Nursing Facility are safe, and both facilities are fully operating except for minor repairs after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on July 5 and a 6.4 magnitude tremor the day before, both centered near Ridgecrest. After the first quake on July 4, the critical access hospital’s patients were evacuated, but the Emergency Department continued to triage incoming patients, directing them to other facilities as needed. Following the even larger earthquake on July 5, Bella Sera Skilled Nursing Facility lost power and worked with local, regional and state partners to prepare for evacuation, which ultimately wasn’t necessary.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing & Certification program and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) worked closely with the area’s health care facilities and approved Ridgecrest Regional for inpatients on July 7.
As with all disasters, the earthquake illustrates the need for health care facilities to know where to turn for personnel, supplies, and equipment assistance at their local CDPH Licensing & Certification, OSHPD, and county Medical and Health Operational Coordinator (MHOAC) offices; the MHOAC Program plays an important role in connecting hospitals with local, regional, state, national and military assistance during a declared disaster. CHA’s Hospital Preparedness Program reminds members that the time to establish those connections and learn contact information for daily operations and after-hours events is before an emergency arises.