Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management

Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management Coalition (formerly HAH Emergency Services Coalition) is a statewide federally qualified all hazards comprehensive emergency management healthcare coalition program which sits inside of the Hawaii Hospital Education and Research Foundation (HHERF), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.   The program was commissioned in 2003 by the federal government with the support of the Hawaii State Department of Health.

The coalition provides a unique array of statewide services and capabilities such as integrated communication and information sharing systems, coordination of healthcare response and recovery operations, patient tracking system,  deployment of a variety of emergency response teams such as Kalawao Rescue, HERT, IMAT, IMTs and various specialized strike teams, mobilization of healthcare delivery systems, learning management system for training, logistic support, medical countermeasures, planning and preparedness activities such as training, workshops, tabletop, functional and full scale exercises, etc.

The coalition is led by a program director and operates with a small permanent staff of 3.0 FTE and other support personnel that include three area coordinators (counties of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii) and over 160 emergency managers representing each member organization.  The Emergency Management Committee which consists of emergency managers representing each of the healthcare organizations is chaired by the program director and provides governance for coalition.

Program funding is 100% dependent on federal grant money through the Hospital Preparedness program.  The program currently receives no county or state funding.

Membership consists of over 160 healthcare organizations statewide in all of the counties.  Those organizations include all of the hospitals, all of of the dialysis centers, most of the long term care facilities, most of the home health providers, most of the long term care facilities, most of the home health providers, all of the hospice providers, all of the community health centers, most of the assisted living facilities, air and ground ambulance providers, pharmaceutical providers, medical gas providers, durable medical equipment providers, ambulatory surgical center providers, blood bank, clinical laboratories, etc.  The roles and responsibilities of members and Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management are defined and described in a MOU or Memorandum of Understanding signed by each organization.

The goal is to sustain and maintain essential and critical healthcare system services statewide during and after a major emergency or disasters through strong coordination, collaboration and leveraging all of the statewide healthcare resources and information sharing.

The program has its own web site www.hhemc.net

Kalawao Rescue Team Assisted With Chuuk Plane Crash Evacuation

In September of 2018, a team of medical personnel assembled by Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management (HHEM) was deployed to Chuuk to assist with the medical evacuation of four people injured in an Air Niugini flight that crashed into the lagoon with 47 people aboard.

The team consisted of 1 Kalawao Rescue Physician, 1 USCG Physician, 3 RNs, 1 Critical Care Paramedic Ventilator Specialist and 1 Medical Logistics and Communication Specialist.

They successfully extracted 4 patient survivors, packaged, managed and treated in flight and transferred all patients to awaiting ambulances in Guam to be transported to the hospital.

The prognosis for all 4 patients are good because of the outstanding coordination and operation between the Kalawao Rescue team, USCG, Chuuk and Guam as well as the world class care that the patients received.

Photo above, (L – R) Dr. Craig Thomas of the Hawaii Emergency Physician’s Association; Chris Crabtree, CEM, DrPH, director of Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management; Paul Pilago, RN, The Queens Medical Center Punchbowl, Heather Postema, RN, and Virgie Choy, RN from Straub Medical Center.

In addition to the above team members, Daniel Kelly, medical logistics and communication specialist, and Dr. Paul Heiderscheidt, U.S. Coast Guard physician (flight surgeon), were also deployed. HHEM Program Coordinator Aiko Holmberg provided support in Hawaii for the team.





Hawaii Hospitals Participate in RIMPAC 2018

Oct. 13, 2017 (WASHINGTON) The exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 logo. Twenty-six nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial exercise scheduled June 27 to Aug. 2, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. (U.S. Navy graphic by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Ortiz/Released)

Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management, a division of the Hawaii Hospital Education and Research Foundation, is coordinating the participation of 27 Hawaii hospitals on four islands in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) which is part of RIMPAC 2018 exercise on July 12 and 13.

Hawaii DMAT Deployed to Kauai


The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), in conjunction with Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management (HHEM) and the Kauai Emergency Operations Center (EOC), deployed a medical team to Haena on Kauai recently to provide basic medical care and assessments in the surrounding communities, which have been cut off by landslides following heavy rain and flooding.




The medical team is providing services out of the Hanalei Colony Resort in Haena and is headed by HHEM director Chris Crabtree, DrPH, CEM, who is also a paramedic.

The team included a physician, Dr. Monty Elias, and a registered nurse, Leesa Souza, RN. Among the patients they have been seeing are those with skin and wound infections, which are common injuries following flooding and weather emergencies.