Orlando Health discusses its methods for treating foreign nationals
Shortly after the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016, Orlando Health hospital reported that some of the first people to contact them were representatives from foreign consulates. Due to its unique location and proximity to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World it was highly likely that some of the shooting victims receiving treatment in the hospital could have been international residents.
Unfortunately, at the time, Orlando Health didn’t have a process for tracking patients who were foreign nationals—especially during high-stakes scenarios and mass casualty events. Since then, the hospital has established a specific system just to identify and admit foreign patients. According to a white paper on the program, the system was able to provide support for more than 5,300 international patients in its first four months.
Clinicians identify whether a patient is a foreign national upon their arrival. If they are, they’re given contact information for their country’s consulates and other relevant support services early on. Issues like potential language barriers are also addressed. With the help of their consulates, patients are better able to communicate with family members and their own healthcare facilities to assist in arranging future care and travel home.
The goal of this program is to build a stronger working relationship with consulates and to educate hospital staff on the unique needs of foreign patients. The experience has been quite eye-opening for Orlando Health. The health system previously estimated that approximately 5,000 foreign nationals visited its hospital each year. Thanks to the new program, Orlando Health figured out that the number is actual double that, if not more.