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North Carolina Hospital Association

Serving North Carolina Hospitals & Health Systems


All Hospitals Asked to Act by Jan. 1, 2017

After studying the issue, the NCHA Board of Directors passed a resolution that all NC hospitals will adopt the language recommended by the NC Hospital Emergency Management Council and the NCHA Policy Development Committee. The Board recognizes that this transition will take some time and suggests that all NC hospitals aim for implementation by the end of 2016. All hospitals are asked to attest to their commitment to the standard alerts no later than December 31, 2014.

Please download the sample board resolution form to the right and insert your hospital's individual information in the spaces provided.

Dear North Carolina Hospital Chief Executive Officers:

As Chairman of the Board of the North Carolina Hospital Association, I am pleased to share with you the NCHA Board of Trustees' endorsement of adoption of standardized, plain language emergency alerts throughout North Carolina hospitals and health systems. The use of standardized alerts will increase transparency, reduce patient errors using a simple and practical approach and promote the safety of patients, hospital employees and visitors. The standardized alerts were developed by a workgroup of 14 hospitals or health systems and the recommendation of the NC Hospital Emergency Management Council.

The decision to adopt standardized alerts followed the request of the North Carolina General Assembly. Wide variation among hospitals, even within health systems, leads to dangerous confusion for physicians and staff. Even in specific geographic regions and metropolitan areas, the variation was significant.

Each hospital will need to review the endorsed alerts and determine the most appropriate process for implementation for your unique organization. Although the initiative is voluntary, you are encouraged to consider adoption of all standardized alerts. NCHA has provided an implementation guide to assist hospitals with this transition. The goal is to have all North Carolina hospitals using these standardized, plain language emergency alerts by Jan. 1, 2017.


J. William Paugh
Chair, NCHA Board of Directors
President and CEO, Wayne Memorial Hospital



Hospitals Reminded to Establish Standardized Hospital Emergency Alerts by January 1st, 2017

Please find the reminder memo about transitioning to Standard Hospital Emergency Alerts in the download section to the right.


Standardized Hospital Emergency Alerts

North Carolina hospitals are committed to safe, quality health care for their communities. One way to promote safety and reduce harm is to standardize emergency notification in hospitals throughout the state. The purpose of an emergency alert is to communicate the emergency quickly and to mobilize expert assistance.

Physicians and staff often work in multiple hospitals, each with their own emergency code designations. It is easy to become confused and use the wrong code in an emergency. At least nine states have responded to the lack of uniformity among health care facilities by standardizing emergency codes or alerts in their states. 

The North Carolina Hospital Emergency Management Council and the North Carolina Hospital Association formed a task force to standardize emergency code calls. This is not a mandate to adopt all or any of the emergency alerts recommended. The implementation will be phased in during a two-year time frame. 

Alerts are based on plain text communications and address three types of events that occur in hospitals:

  • Facility alerts (i.e. mass casualties and fires)
  • Security alerts (i.e. active shooters and missing persons)
  • Medical events (i.e. cardiac or respiratory arrest)

Goals include:

  • Reducing variation of emergency codes among North Carolina hospitals
  • Increasing patient, staff and public safety within hospitals and communities
  • Supporting hospitals’ noise reduction efforts
  • Promoting transparency of safety protocols
  • Increasing competency-based skills of hospital staff working in multiple facilities

The task force analyzed existing data and reviewed those emergency codes already in use by member hospitals, other state hospital associations who have addressed the issue, the Joint Commission, and the Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HICS) recommendations. Adoption of plain language is supported by the following organizations or reports:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • The National Incident Management System (2008)
  • The Institute of Medicine’s Health Literacy report and recommendations (2004)

There is no one definition for plain language, but two criteria are generally recognized.

  • People understand the information received without further extensive explanation.
  • People know what actions are required based on the information received.

Hospitals with attestations to commit to the use of standard alerts by the end of 2016

NCHA last updated this page on: September 8, 2017
Color Code:
Inpatient Rehabilitation
Behavioral Health
**Nursing Facility
*Not NCHA member

Adoption of standardized, plain language emergency alerts Facility Currently using Plain Language Alerts Plain Language Alerts to be in place by 1.1.18 No Plans to Adopt Plain Language Alerts
Alamance Regional Medical Center Inc x    
Alleghany County Memorial Hospital Inc      
Angel Medical Center Inc x    
Annie Penn Hospital - Cone Health x    
Ashe Memorial Hospital Inc      
Blowing Rock Rehabiliitation & Davant Extended Care** x    
Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Inc      
Caldwell Memorial Hospital Inc x    
Cape Fear Valley - Hoke Hospital x x  
Cape Fear Valley - Bladen County Hospital x x  
Cape Fear Valley Medical Center x x  
CarolinaEast Medical Center   x  
Carolinas Healthcare System - University x    
Carolinas Healthcare System - Anson x    
Carolinas Healthcare System - Blue Ridge (Grace Hospital and Valdese General Hospital) x    
Carolinas Healthcare System - Cleveland x    
Carolinas Healthcare System - Kings Mountain x    
Carolinas Healthcare System - Lincoln x    
Carolinas Healthcare System - Union x    
Carolinas Healthcare System -NorthEast x    
Carolinas Healthcare System Pineville x    
Carolinas Healthcare System Pineville Rehab  x    
Carolinas Healthcare System Stanly x    
Carolinas Healthcare System-Mercy x    
Carolinas Medical Center / Center for Mental Health X    
Carolinas Rehabilitation x    
Carolinas Rehabilitation - Mt Holly x    
Carolinas Rehabilitation - NorthEast* x    
Carolinas Healthcare System Davidson Behavior Hospital  x    
Carolinas Healthcare System Charlotte Behavior Hospital   x    
Carolinas Specialty Hospital      
Caromont Health      
Carteret General Hospital      
Catawba Valley Medical Center x    
Central Carolina Hospital x    
Charles A Cannon Jr Memorial Hospital Incorporated   x  
Charles George VA Medical Center, Asheville      
Cherokee Indian Hospital      
Chatham Hospital Inc      
Columbus Regional Healthcare System   x  
Davis Regional Medical Center      
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Durham      
Duke Raleigh Hospital   x  
Duke Regional Hospital (Durham Regional)   x  
Duke University Hospital   x  
Fayetteville VA Medical Center x    
FirstHealth Hoke Memorial Hospital x    
FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital x    
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hosptial and Pinehurst Treatment x    
FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital x    
Frye Regional Medical Center      
Granville Health System      
Halifax Regional Medical Center Inc      
Harnett Health System Inc - Betsy Johnson Hospital and Central Harnett Hospital      
Harris Regional - DLP      
Haywood Regional Medical Center DLP      
High Point Regional Health      
Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Inc x x  
Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital x x  
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Inc      
Iredell Memorial Hospital Incorporated x    
J Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital      
Johnston Memorial Hospital x    
Kindred Hospital Greensboro      
Lake Norman Regional Medical Center      
Lenoir Memorial Hospital Inc      
LifeCare Hospitals of North Carolina Inc x    
Margaret R Pardee Memorial Hospital   x  
Maria Parham Medical Center - DLP      
Martin General Hospital      
McDowell Hospital Inc x    
Mission Hospital and Asheville Surgery Center x    
Morehead Memorial Hospital      
Moses H Cone Memorial Hosp Operating Corporation - Cone Health (Includes Behavioral Health Hosp, Wesley Long Community Hosp & Women's Hosp of Greensboro) x    
Murphy Medical Center Inc   x  
Nash Hospitals Inc - Nash General Hospital x    
New Hanover Regional Medical Center   x  
North Carolina Specialty Hospital Inc      
Northern Hospital of Surry County      
Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center   x  
Novant Health Charlotte Orthopaedic Hospital   x  
Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center   x  
Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center   x  
Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center   x  
Novant Health Kernersville   x  
Novant Health Matthews Medical Center   x  
Novant Health Medical Park Hospital   x  
Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center   x  
Novant Health Rowan Medical Center   x  
Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center   x  
Onslow Memorial Hospital Inc      
Our Community Hospital Inc      
Outer Banks Hospital Inc      
Park Ridge Health   x  
Pender Memorial Hospital Inc      
Person Memorial Hospital - DLP      
Pioneer Community Hospital of Stokes      
Randolph Hospital Inc   x  
Rex Hospital Inc      
Rutherford Regional Health System - DLP      
Salisbury VA Medical Center*      
Sampson Regional Medical Center Inc      
Sandhills Regional Medical Center      
Scotland Memorial Hospital and Edwin Morgan Center   x  
Sentara Albemarle Medical Center      
Southeastern Regional Medical Center      
Stanly Regional Medical Center      
St Luke's Hospital Inc      
Swain County Hospital      
Transylvania Community Hospital Inc - Transylvania Regional Medical Center And Bridgeway x    
University of North Carolina Hospitals at Chapel Hill      
Vidant Beaufort Hospital x    
Vidant Bertie Hospital x    
Vidant Chowan Hospital x    
Vidant Duplin Hospital x    
Vidant Edgecombe Hospital x    
Vidant Medical Center x    
Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital x    
Wake Forest Baptist Health x    
Wake Forest Baptist Health - Davie Hospital x    
Wake Forest Baptist Health - Lexington Memorial Hospital Inc x    
WakeMed - Raleigh Campus and North Family and Women's Services Hospital x    
WakeMed Cary Hospital x    
Washington County Hospital      
Watauga Medical Center Inc   x  
Wayne Memorial Hospital      
Wilkes Regional Medical Center      
Wilson Medical Center - DLP      


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