National Disaster Medical System
The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) is a federally-coordinated system that augments the Nation's medical response capability. The overall purpose of the NDMS is to establish a single integrated National medical response capability for assisting state and local authorities in dealing with the medical impacts of major peacetime disasters and to provide support to the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs medical systems in caring for casualties evacuated back to the U.S. from overseas armed conventional conflicts.
NDMS is designed to provide three legs of medical response when activated: medical care within a disaster area in the form of teams (medical, veterinary, mortuary, and others), medical supplies and equipment; patient movement from a disaster site to unaffected areas of the nation; and definitive medical care at participating hospitals in unaffected areas.
NDMS is designed to care for victims of any incident that exceeds the medical care capability of an affected State or region, or the Federal healthcare system. It may be used in a variety of emergency events such as natural disasters, technological disasters, majory transportation accidents, or acts of terrorism including weapons of mass destruction events.
Purpose of NDMS
NDMS was initially created to provided backup domestic medical support to the military-VA medical care systems during an overseas conventional conflict, although it has never been used for this purpose. Today, NDMS serves as a nationwide medical response system that supplements state and local emergency resources during disasters or major emergencies. Circumstances for which NDMS may be activated include 1) a military contingency or overseas conventional armed conflict involving US forces, 2) a presidential declaration of a disaster, 3) a request for major medical assistance.