Coronavirus COVID-19: Organizational Preparedness and Capacity Planning

See below for the latest AHA members-only information to help hospital and health system leaders respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a comprehensive catalog of COVID-19 resources, visit the AHA's Updates and Resources on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.

Resources on Organizational Preparedness and Capacity Planning


    Maternal and Child Health During COVID-19

    March 5, 2021

    To help hospitals and health systems address maternal and neonatal health during this public crisis, the AHA has assembled resources from across the field that you may find useful as you provide safe and high-quality care to mothers and babies during this time.

    Responding to COVID-19: AHA Resource Guide

    October 22, 2020

    This guide includes the most frequently accessed COVID-19 tools and resources from the AHA that can help hospitals and health systems respond to the pandemic. The compendium’s resource links are divided into the following categories:

    • Recovery, the return of elective care and capacity planning.
    • Protecting and enabling health care workers.
    • Caring for patients and communities.
    • Addressing health care disparities.
    • Telehealth and virtual care.
    • Cybersecurity resources.

    COVID-19 Pathways to Recovery (AHA Member Only Content)

    June 10, 2020

    This compendium provides important questions and checklists for hospitals and health systems to consider moving forward.

    AHA Resource: 5 Actions to Promote Housing Access During and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

    July 27, 2020

    This issue brief highlights housing security as a significant factor in COVID-19 prevention and treatment. It offers five actions that hospitals and health systems can take to address housing instability and improve health in their communities, with links to case examples and additional resources.

    AHA Resource: The impact of COVID-19 on hospital credit ratings

    May 21, 2020

    Recently, the AHA convened a members-only Town Hall with the three major credit rating agencies — Fitch, Moody’s and S&P — to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and health systems, the firms’ perspectives on credit ratings, considerations for accessing capital, meeting bond covenants and other issues. This executive summary from the presentation covers the short-term and long-term impact of the virus on hospital and health systems’ liquidity, forecasts various types of risks organizations face and more.

    AHA Resource: Workforce Considerations in the Transition to Recovery

    July 1, 2020

    This resource addresses workforce strategies and redeploying health care workers, supporting the needs of front-line health care workers, general considerations for reopening facilities, resuming nonemergent surgeries, and contact tracing and testing.

    COVID-19 Waiver Tracker

    Updated May 8, 2020

    The AHA has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to consider taking a series of actions to temporarily suspend certain requirements in order for health care providers to better respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. See the COVID-19 waiver tracker for requests that have been approved, requests that are in progress or partially approved, and requests that are still pending action.

    AHA RESOURCE: Partnering to Address COVID-19 — A 60-Minute Action Plan

    April 13, 2020

    This three-step approach offers tips to identify partners, how to work jointly on goal-setting, understanding assets and gaps, establishing roles and implementing an action plan.

    CDC: COVID-19 Hospital Preparedness Assessment Tool

    April 1 , 2020

    CDC checklist highlights important areas for hospitals to ensure staff are trained, equipped and capable of identifying and caring for COVID-19 patients and preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the facility

    WHO: Hospital Preparedness for Epidemics

    April 1, 2020

    Hospitals can use this comprehensive guide from the World Health Organization to review their preparedness for communicable disease epidemics, update their epidemic response plans and their capacity to implement these plans.

    CMS Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention Concerning COVID-19

    April 1, 2020

    FAQs and considerations for patient triage, placement and hospital discharge.

    HHS: COVID-19 Healthcare Planning Checklist

    April 1 , 2020

    HHS checklist can help identify gaps in COVID-19 response plans, includes staff education, monitoring and contingency plans; response configurations; resource monitoring and assistance; development of deferral and referral plans to adjust with outbreak demands.

    Report: Hospitals and Health Systems Face Unprecedented Financial Pressures Due to COVID-19

    May 5, 2020

    Hospitals and health systems face catastrophic financial challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Hospital Association (AHA) undertook four analyses to better understand and quantify these financial challenges.

    Q&A with two rural health care CEOs on managing COVID-19 in their communities

    May 1 , 2020

    Two rural hospital leaders share how they are addressing the coronavirus pandemic in their communities.

    BoardBrief: Navigating the Challenges of COVID-19 (AHA Member Content)

    April 1 , 2020

    This briefing highlights important questions and areas for board consideration in a practical seven-point framework.

    Healthcare Management Checklist for Teleworking Surge During the Covid-19 Response

    April 1 , 2020

    This checklist is designed as a quick reference for health care enterprise management to consider important factors in a teleworking strategy that minimizes downtime and latency while supporting patient care, operational and IT security, and supply chain resilience.

    UW Medicine COVID-19 Policies and Protocols

    March 31, 2020

    UW Medicine is making its policies and protocols available on its website. These include screening and testing algorithms and policy statements, including minimizing aerosolizing procedures and room cleaning protocols.

    Priorities Checklist for State Leaders

    April 3, 2020

    Website provides a list of best practices in use by states across the country, including steps to take to slow the spread of the virus, how to build and sustain the health care workforce and develop a reserve supply of workers, protecting at-risk populations and more.

    Recording: COVID-19 Call with Leaders from Providence St. Joseph Health System in Seattle (AHA Member Content)

    March 24, 2020

    Short summary and audio recording of virtual meeting where Providence shared insights on their digital response to COVID-19.

    CDC fact sheets for quick print-and-post

    April 17, 2020

    Resources include easy-to-understand flyers that can be printed in several languages about COVID-19-related matters like hand-washing and symptoms.

    Association Resource: COVID-19 health literacy project

    April 18, 2020

    Produced in collaboration with the COVID-19 Health Literacy project and translated into 35+ languages, this resource includes fact sheets on prevention, management, pregnancy and information to children.

    AHA Resource: Awareness of Social Needs during COVID-19

    April 27, 2020

    A resource to better understand and address the impact of social determinants of health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    AHA Resource: 5 Steps to Promote Equity

    April 27, 2020

    Recent reports indicate how diverse and vulnerable populations are disproportionately suffering from COVID-19. Hospitals and health systems are working to address the health equity challenges highlighted by this crisis in different ways

    AHA Resource: COVID-19, Acknowledging and Addressing Racism and Xenophobia

    April 28, 2020

    As the COVID-19 crisis continues, an additional concern has come to the forefront of conversations in hospitals and health systems: addressing racism and xenophobia. While organizations seek to address the virus itself, individuals from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds face this additional challenge. This resource from the AHA Institute for Diversity and Health Equity shares action steps hospitals and health systems are implementing to address these issues.


    AHA Resource: COVID-19 Models: Forecasting the Pandemic’s Spread and Planning for recovery

    September 29, 2020

    This updated report from the AHA provides an overview of links to models that can help organizations address COVID-19 case projections and capacity planning, community vulnerability mapping and case mapping. The report provides links to leading COVID-19 models and provides an overview of each tool’s capabilities and the resource’s methodology documentation. New recovery calculators help estimate how long it will take to complete backlogs of postponed procedures and model-estimated critical care capabilities based on given inputs at baseline.

    Association Resource: A framework for managing the COVID-19 pandemic response

    April 18, 2020

    Missouri Hospital Association resource provides crisis standards of care, planning assumptions and how to prepare care settings.

    COVID-19 response planning tools

    April 18, 2020

    This website, a multi-institutional collaborative, provides tools to support frontline workforce needs, redeploying clinical teams, and protecting the health and well-being of providers.

    Recommendations for the Health Care Supply Chain During COVID-19

    This resources page from the Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management provides guidance and links to essential regulatory and supply chain websites with COVID-19 information.

    COVID-19 crisis strategies for severe resource demands

    April 1 , 2020

    Medical experts focus on tiered, proactive strategies to optimize resource use in the event the current COVID-19 outbreak spreads and creates severe resource demands. Strategies include preparing, conserving, substituting, adapting, re-using, and re-allocating resources; adjusting for staffing shortages; adapting emergency department operations; and developing critical care protocols for the COVID-19 patient.

    Patient Surge in Disasters: A Hospital Toolkit for Expanding Resources in Emergencies

    This hospital toolkit from NYC Health offers resources in emergencies.

    Hospital Surge Capacity and Immediate Bed Availability Topic Collection

    March 31, 2020

    Hospital Surge Capacity and Immediate Bed Availability planning resource from Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Information Gateway

    COVID-19 Critical Care Surge Resources

    April 3 , 2020

    Surge Guides from this collection of resources from the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) focuses on plans, tools, templates, and other immediately implementable resources to help with COVID-19 preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts, concentrating on critical care surge.

    Facility Checklist for Reopening a Closed Hospital

    April 3 , 2020

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website provides a surge toolkit and facility checklist for reopening a shuttered hospital.

    CDC: Decontamination and reuse of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs)

    April 18, 2020

    CDC resource provides instructions on how to decontaminate and reuse FFRs as a crisis capacity strategy to ensure continued availability.

    Safe Respirator Use When Supplies Are Short

    April 3 , 2020

    ECRI experts review how to use N95 respirators safely when normal procedures are challenging due to shortages. The video covers expert advice on using outdated or expired masks, how to get multiple uses from masks, cleaning and disinfection procedures, UV disinfection, navigating supply-chain shortages, and why ECRI does not recommend homemade masks for health care facilities. Published March 25, 2020

    CDC Pandemic Influenza Triage Tool

    March 31, 2020

    The Community Healthcare Decision Pathway provides an algorithm for community and health care leaders and other decision makers to assess resource availability and medical surge at the health care and community levels.


    Meeting ICU patient care demands during a pandemic

    April 1 , 2020

    This guidebook from the Society of Critical Care Medicine includes action items, tips on pitfalls to avoid, templates from other health systems: How to build pandemic ICU surge capacity (Chapter 7, p. 93); Minnesota health care system: pandemic incident command considerations for healthcare facilities by stage (Appendix 3, p.171); and Mayo Clinic: scenario-based pandemic planning templates (Appendix 5, p.185)

    Resource: Critical care training for non-ICU clinicians

    March 31, 2020

    This online training from the Society of Critical Care Medicine offers support for clinicians on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    CDC: COVID-19 Hospital Preparedness Assessment Tool

    April 1 , 2020

    CDC checklist highlights important areas for hospitals to ensure staff are trained, equipped and capable of identifying and caring for COVID-19 patients and preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the facility


    Resource: ASHE COVID-19 Resources for Health Care Facilities

    ASHE has created a resource page to assist health care facilities professionals in their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The resources cover critical operations such as air quality, safety and security, emergency preparedness and infection prevention.

    Six COVID-19 Recommendations for Health Facilities Leaders

    April 1 , 2020

    The American Society for Health Care Engineering reviews key areas facilities leaders should review in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Converting Alternate Care Sites

    April 3, 2020

    The American Society for Health Care Engineering COVID-19 website provides links to reports to help hospitals and health systems, states and municipalities looking to convert hotel rooms, arenas and closed hospitals to alternate care sites for patient care.


    AHA Advisory: FEMA Public Assistance Application Information

    March 25, 2020

    This document explains the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic as a national emergency, public assistance (PA) funding is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to eligible State, Territorial, Tribal, local government entities and certain private non-profit (PNP) organizations.

    Coronavirus Update: CMS and IRS Release New Information on COVID-19

    March 11, 2020

    CMS and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have released a number of new documents related to COVID-19. This includes: Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requirements; Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D requirements and flexibilities; cost-sharing for high-deductible health plans; respirator and facemask use for health care workers; and health and safety for home health agency (HHA) and dialysis providers.

    News: House passes coronavirus funding package; CDC removes testing restrictions

    March 4, 2020

    The House passed H.R. 6074, which includes $950 million to help states, localities, territories and tribes conduct activities such as virus surveillance, lab testing and infection control; more than $3 billion for research and development of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; and provisions that would allow the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary to waive certain Medicare telehealth restrictions.

    Letter: AHA Urges HHS to Take Regulatory Actions to Help Hospitals Respond to COVID-19

    March 5, 2020

    The AHA urges the Department of Health and Human Services to take a number of regulatory actions that would help hospitals and health systems better prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Among other actions, AHA urges HHS to enable broader use of telehealth and help preserve the supply of N95 respirators.

    Coronavirus Update: Congress Reaches Deal on $8.3 Billion Coronavirus Spending Package

    March 4, 2020

    AHA Advisory announcing details of the $8.3 billion package Congress passed to address Coronavirus.

    Talking Points: Hospitals and Health Systems – COVID-19 Response

    March 3, 2020

    Coronavirus talking points for hospitals and health systems.

    Press Release: AHA, ANA Urge Congress to Quickly Fund Health Care Readiness for Coronavirus

    February 27, 2020

    AHA and the American Nurses Association sent a letter to Congress asking for supplemental emergency funding.