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How a Storm-Battered Health System is Helping Employees

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, November 12, 2012

Before, during, and after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the staff at hospitals and healthcare facilities along the East Coast accomplished amazing feats. Despite power outages, patient evacuations, long hours, and concerns about their own families and homes, hospital workers continue to care for patients.

Last week's Nor'easter added snow and cold, aggravating the flooding and power outages in already hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey.

But in Long Island, NY there was a break in the clouds for the 45,000 employees of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Literally overnight, NorthShore-LIJ's HR department, in collaboration with its IT and leadership team, built an Employee Emergency Response Center.

Beginning the Friday before the storm, the health system began to plan for how it would deal with heavy patient volumes that might come from other community hospitals and nursing homes. In the HR department, planning for staffing levels began.

"We put a lot of responsibility on our nurses, doctors, ancillary workers—anyone that worked for the organization, like a transporter, we really required a lot of them. We asked them to come in and help their community by providing care to the patients. The patients always came first," says Joseph Cabral, SVP & Chief HR Officer at North Shore-LIJ Health System.

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