Your browser doesn't support JavaScript. Please upgrade to a modern browser or enable JavaScript in your existing browser.
Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Mass Medical Care with Scarce Resources

A Community Planning Guide

Mass Medical Care with Scarce Resources: A Community Planning Guide provides community planners—as well as planners at the institutional, State, and Federal levels—with information on planning for and responding to a mass casualty event (MCE).

Select to download print version (PDF File, 1.2 MB; PDF Help).


The product of a collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), this guide is written by leading experts in six areas related to mass casualty care: prehospital care, hospital and acute care, alternative care sites, palliative care, ethical issues, and legal considerations.

The report provides information on:

  • The circumstances that communities are likely to face in an MCE.
  • Key constructs, principles, and structures to be incorporated into the planning for an MCE.
  • Approaches and strategies that could be used to provide the most appropriate standards of care possible under the circumstances.
  • Examples of tools and resources to help States and communities in their planning process.
  • Illustrative examples of how specific health systems, communities, or States have approached various issues in their MCE-related planning efforts.


About This Guide
Executive Summary
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Ethical Considerations in Community Disaster Planning
Chapter 3. Assessing the Legal Environment Concerning Mass Casualty Event Planning and Response
Chapter 4. Prehospital Care
Chapter 5. Hospital/Acute Care
Chapter 6. Alternative Care Sites
Chapter 7. Palliative Care
Chapter 8. Influenza Pandemic Case Study
Appendix A. Participant List
Appendix B. Bibliography

Bioterrorism Research Portfolio

This resource is one of more than 50 studies, workshops, conferences, and other activities funded under the Agency's bioterrorism research portfolio. AHRQ sponsors research that provides the evidence base for tools and resources needed in bioterrorism and public health emergency planning and response. For more information, go to:

AHRQ Publication No. 07-0001
Current as of February 2007

Internet Citation:

Mass Medical Care with Scarce Resources: A Community Planning Guide. AHRQ Publication No. 07-0001, February 2007. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care