Author – 12/05/2012 – KT5SR
Edited 09/2022 by Paul Smith, K5PRS

Many of our ARES members belong to emergency response teams whose primary served agencies are hospitals or governmental agencies that may have hospital, public need interaction roles during disasters. The State of Texas has been divided in to 22 areas under the authority of the Texas Department of Health as instructed and authorized by the 1989 Omnibus Rural Health Care Rescue Act. Each of these areas is designated a Trauma Service Area and has a Regional Advisory Council (RAC) set up to assist and advise it. To respond to large scale medical emergency needs the state has set up 8 regional Emergency Medical Task Force Teams (EMTF). Amateur radio operators serving in Hospitals or EOCs may encounter traffic requesting routing of messages between hospitals and these teams or requesting materials or access permissions from or for them. As such each of us should be familiar with the following entities:

Regional Hospital Preparedness Coalition (RHPC)
South East Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC)
Catastrophic Medical Operations Center (CMOC)
Emergency Medical Task Force Teams (EMTF)

What is the RHPC?
The Regional Hospital Preparedness Coalition (RHPC) is a non-profit, 501c3 agency. It was formed as the Regional Hospital Preparedness Council in 2002. Discussions were held in early 2012 between the Regional Hospital Preparedness Council and the South East Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC). The RHPC became the preparedness committee of SETRAC, and was renamed the Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coalition. The coalition is tasked with providing cooperative planning for and response to medical emergencies including coordination of medical care and resources in response to the needs of the community. A major component of the response is the Catastrophic Medical Operations Center (CMOC).

The CMOC is an industry recognized best practice for ensuring resiliency of the regional healthcare infrastructure by a multi-disciplinary group during catastrophes. At the request of a jurisdictional authority, the RHPC will activate the CMOC according to the current Regional Emergency Preparedness Plan that is on file at the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management. The RHPC core area corresponds to the 9 county Trauma Service Area Q is divided into four corridors served by a Corridor Director and is governed by a Board of Directors. This group serves planning and oversight roles and has never requested amateur radio operator assignments during an emergency to my knowledge.

The South East Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) covers Trauma Service Area Q: Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties. SETRAC is also a 501(C3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization. The primary function of the South East Texas Regional Advisory Council is to provide stakeholder support through planning, facilitation, operations and the provision of technical assistance to the healthcare community for preparedness, trauma, stroke, cardiac care and pediatrics’ services. SETRAC is the administrator of federal and state grant money for its stakeholders. SETRAC prepares our nine county region for manmade or natural emergencies, disasters and mass casualty events. Trauma, stroke, cardiac and pediatric service lines focus on establishing protocols and standards of care to deliver our community the appropriate care through the appropriate facilities with the appropriate care givers in day to day service. Like the RHPC this group has not needed amateur radio operators.

What is CMOC?
The Catastrophic Medical Operations Center (CMOC) is a collaboration of healthcare, special needs, EMS transportation, and public health specialists working together under a NIMS compliant structure within the Unified Area Command to address Emergency Support Function 8 (ESF-8 Public Health and Medical Services) services of a multi-geographical region. The CMOC is the operational arm of the Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coalition (RHPC)and potentially serves 28 counties, 277 cities and a population of over 9.3 million Texas residents. The CMOC principal focus 9 county region includes over 120 hospitals and more than 500 nursing homes. Amateur Radio operators assigned to the Houston Emergency Center are tasked with handling any incoming or outgoing radio traffic for CMOC. All Hospital and EOC operators should be aware that CMOC is co housed in the HEC facility.

What Does it do?
CMOC serves as a “one-stop shop” to ensure the continuity and support of the medical infrastructure in the Southeast Texas region. As a regional medical resource, the CMOC coordinates patent evacuation, transport and placement, as well as tracking and reporting. The CMOC also assists medical facilities with resource requests and guidance.

Who can activate it?
CMOC must be activated by an authorized governmental entity. If your facility needs to activate the CMOC, you can call 713-884-4408 to request activation. Let me repeat that number…713-884-4408. The CMOC will coordinate with your local Office of Emergency Management to ensure proper activation and support.

How does it align with the local, regional, and state plans?
The CMOC primary response area is a 9 county region (TSA Q). While the CMOC is housed inside the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management, it is a resource for the entire Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC)13 county region, as well as any other region within Regional Advisory Councils R and Q (Trauma Service Areas Q and R). The greater CMOC aid area only partially corresponds to the 25 county area of Emergency Medical Task Force 6 which covers Trauma Service Areas H,Q and R. During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the CMOC coordinated the transportation and transfer of over 3500 patients into healthcare settings.

Each of the state’s 8 EMTF teams is a NIMS compliant regional aid group sitting at a regional level and covering more than 1 TSA with integrated command and control elements deployable for statewide incidents. Each Task Force is charged with planning and gap analysis for medical emergencies, full communications capability, subject matter expert recruitment and roster development to man at least one trained and exercised team for each of the following:

AmbulanceBus (AmBus)Strike Teams:
Ambulance Strike Teams:
Nurse Strike Teams:
Mobile Medical Unit Strike Team:

2 – each 12 litter capable
5 each with 5ambulances
1 with 16-32 bed capacity 12 hr launch time for 72 hr
1 with 16-32 bed capacity 12 hr launch time for 72 hr



It is conceivable that EMTF’s could request assignment of amateur radio operators to elements of their teams under some scenarios.

Most of this material comes from the web pages linked below.

Links: (Trainers: Read the names of the links but not the links themselves.)

That ends tonight’s training. Are there any questions, comments or suggested improvement?

Thanks, this is (callsign) clear to net control.