In 1999, Fayette County formed the Healthcare Emergency Planning Committee (HCEPC) to coordinate the county-wide health and medical response to emergencies / disasters. The focus of the group was to address “all hazards”, not just WMD concerns. From the beginning, it was recognized that the goals of the Coalition had to include the integration of emergency plans and the coordination of training, exercises, and equipment across health and medical organizations.
The coalition consisted primarily of representatives from Emergency Management, Fire / EMS, Public Health, and Lexington-area hospitals. The HCEPC proved to be a very effective coordination tool, and the improved integration of first responders, healthcare, public health and emergency management personnel greatly enhanced the readiness of all involved to respond to disasters.
Initial funding of the coalition came through the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) and was intended for Fayette County entities only. In 2005 the MMRS group expanded to include the 9 contiguous counties. The additional 8 counties were added In 2013 to align with the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s (KDPH) preparedness programs and the Lexington MMRS. Eventually MMRS funding went through program changes under Health and Human Services (HHS). The HPP program was realigned under HHS through the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The main source of coalition funding came through the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) Cooperative agreement. This was awarded to Kentucky Department for Public Health and coalition were identified as sub-awardees.
An agreement was arranged with the Fayette County Health Department to support a fulltime preparedness planner that could share responsibilities as the health department planner while service as the coalition coordinator. Upon the partnership with KDPH the coalition was deemed as Region 13/14 Health Care Emergency Planning Coalition and later to be known as Region 15 to align with the Public Health Emergency Planning (PHEP) regions.
In 2017 there was push to realign healthcare coalitions across the Commonwealth to support the need for additional funding. The coalition went through another name change to be known as HPP Region 5. In 2019 the coalition decided to discontinue the region number designation and adopted the official name as the Bluegrass Healthcare Coalition.
Currently the Bluegrass Healthcare Coalition continues to expand its membership to more than 183 members. We continue to expand our scope and practices to help support our membership in building resiliency through emergency preparedness.