Disaster Medical Coordination Center (DMCC) Overview
Disaster Medical Coordination Centers (DMCC) are designated regional hospitals that coordinate patient movement during a mass casualty incident. A DMCC is activated when an incident may overwhelm the healthcare system such as a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) or hospital evacuation. An activation request typically comes from Fire or EMS units at the scene. The DMCC coordinates patient placement serving as a central communications hub, it does NOT provide any physical resources to transport patients.
Washington State healthcare organizations that might expect to make or receive patient placement requests during an incident should include contact information for their local and regional DMCC in the communications plans. Quarterly communication drills are conducted to verify that regional hospitals can be contacted by their local or regional DMCC’s, it is a critical part of disaster planning that healthcare organizations participate in these drills to validate that staff are trained to use the radio equipment and can access WATrac to update regional bed counts.
In the event of a mass casualty incident that severely impacts one or more communities, a local Disaster Medical Coordination Center (DMCC) will efficiently coordinate the distribution of all affected patients to appropriate points of care. Distributing the patients appropriately around a county or the region is crucial to sustaining the operations of the healthcare system during an emergency. Additionally, the DMCC system aims to minimize secondary transfers by working with EMS to make the initial patient placement match available resources.
A DMCC may also notify other organizations to assist with support needs such as family reunification, and/or resource requests. Partners include other healthcare facilities, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network, Department of Health, local and/or county public health, city and/or county emergency management.
The DMCC staff is normally part of the Emergency Department of the associated hospital. DMCC’s are responsible for supporting EMS and the healthcare community by identifying available beds and placing patients at the most appropriate facility, based on their injuries or illness and available capacity.
- Gathering information from the field
- Location of incident
- Mechanism of injury
- The approximate number of patients (adults & pediatrics)
- Types of injuries
- Contamination or exposure concerns
- Initiating notification to area hospitals requesting bed availability and ability to receive patients.
- Coordinating patient placement with hospitals, Fire/EMS, and other DMCC
The Puget Sound region is designated as the DMCC Western Washington Region. DMCC’s in Western Washington are:
North District Providence Everett Medical Center (Everett)
Central District Harborview Medical Center (Seattle) King County DMCC
Central District Good Samaritan Hospital (Puyallup) – Pierce County DMCC
Northwest District Harrison Medical Center, CHI Franciscan (Bremerton) – Kitsap County DMCC
West District Providence St. Peter Hospital (Olympia)
The Washington State Department of Health PHEPR Disaster Medical Coordination Center Toolkit provides detailed information about the DMCC system.
DMCC agreement document