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Emergency Department and Inpatient Health Care Services Utilization by the Elderly Population: Hurricane Sandy in The State of New Jersey

  • Linda McQuade (a1), Barry Merriman (a1), Mark Lyford (a1), Bella Nadler (a1), Sangeeta Desai (a1), Roger Miller (a1) and Samuel Mallette (a1)...



In this investigation, we reported the increase in emergency department and inpatient admission cases during the month of November 2012 post Hurricane Sandy as compared with baseline (November 2010, 2011, and 2013) for elderly patients aged 65 and up.


Medical claims data for patients aged 65 and over treated at emergency department and inpatient health care facilities in New Jersey were analyzed to examine the surge in frequencies of diagnoses treated immediately following Hurricane Sandy. The differences were quantified using gap analysis for 2 years before and 1 year after the event.


There was an average increase of 1700 cases for the month of November 2012 relative to baseline for the top 15 most frequently diagnosed emergency department medical conditions. On a daily basis, a volume increase by an average 57 cases could be expected, including significant numbers of limb fractures and other trauma cases for these most frequently encountered medical conditions.


Understanding the surge level in medical services needed in emergency departments and inpatient facilities during a natural disaster aftermath is critical for effective emergency preparation and response for the elderly population. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:730-738)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Linda McQuade, Health Division, Logistic Management Institute, 7940 Jones Branch Drive, Tysons, VA 22102 (e-mail:


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