G1 – Understanding and Addressing Climatic Vulnerabilities at 32 Facilities: Lessons from Partners HealthCare

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Climate change is influencing the intensity and patterns of weather events creating new and or increased threats for healthcare facilities. Health care facilities know they must improve resilience in order to continue routine health care services and care for the newly sick and injured during times of crisis. Unfortunately, many organizations rely on historical data to inform planning resulting in inadequate interventions. Conducting the detailed, forward looking analysis required to make informed decisions requires broad leadership and subject matter expert collaboration internal and external to the organization. Project design is essential in meeting the needs of these diverse stakeholders and obtaining buy-in and resources to proceed.

Over the past three years, Partners HealthCare, a Boston-based academic health system, has utilized a multi-disciplinary project team comprised of senior leaders in real-estate, emergency preparedness, risk management and insurance, and external climate experts, to address structural, operational/clinical, and fiscal challenges and opportunities related to climate threats based in science. Partners has considered the surrounding built environment and community networks which could influence the impact of an extreme weather event upon their operations. Additionally, they have conducted analysis with a near-term and long-term horizon allowing two-points of intervention: operational changes in the near-term and facility construction changes addressing long-term threats.

This presentation will review the Partners HealthCare Strategic Resiliency Initiative’s three phases: (1) climate modeling, (2) vulnerability assessment, and (3) implementation. Key themes addressed throughout will include stakeholder buy-in, data needs, prioritization criteria, and lessons from each phase.