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The “Health Legal Preparedness Model” developed in the US aims to provide better health-related responses in times of emergency. It includes four components: (1) law; (2) competencies; (3) information; and (4) coordination.
The aim of this study is to examine the usefulness of the “Health Legal Preparedness Model” in the present state of affairs in the field of emergency preparedness in Israel.
A qualitative study was conducted. In-depth interviews were performed with leading experts in the past or at present in the Israeli emergency health system.
The Israeli healthcare system already has elements of the model in place at various levels. The relative perceived importance of each of the four aspects of the model varied between the experts. Of the four components, law and coordination were perceived as a major system concern. Training of specialists in emergency legislation was controversial. In addition, differences were found in the experts' perceptions as of the optimal way to operate the health system during an emergency. Variability also was found in the perception of the private sector growth and in the importance of its incorporation into emergency response plans. The study found that the emergency preparedness system resembles military practices in its conduct. Nevertheless, there is willingness toward mutual emergency systems drills, including aspects of legal preparedness.
The model already is applied partially in the Israeli emergency healthcare system. Results indicate that the Health Legal Preparedness Model might be useful in identifying gaps in emergency response plans. It also crystallized gaps related to optimal operation during emergencies in the country. Therefore, it is important to reach agreement upon solutions that will incorporate a regulatory guideline in order to improve the function of the emergency healthcare system.
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