Location selection of field hospitals amid COVID-19 considering effectiveness and fairness: A case study of Florida

Onur Alisan, Mehmet Baran Ulak, Eren Erman Ozguven, Mark W. Horner

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The world has experienced an unprecedented global health crisis since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, which inflicted massive burdens on countries' healthcare systems. During the peaks of the pandemic, the shortages of intensive care unit (ICU) beds illustrated a critical vulnerability in the fight. Many individuals suffering the effects of COVID-19 had difficulty accessing ICU beds due to insufficient capacity. Unfortunately, it has been observed that many hospitals do not have enough ICU beds, and the ones with ICU capacity might not be accessible to all population strata. To remedy this going forward, field hospitals could be established to provide additional capacity in helping emergency health situations such as pandemics; however, location selection is a crucial decision ultimately for this purpose. As such, we consider finding new field hospital locations to serve the demand within certain travel-time thresholds, while accounting for the presence of vulnerable populations. A multi-objective mathematical model is proposed in this paper that maximizes the minimum accessibility and minimizes the travel time by integrating the Enhanced 2-Step Floating Catchment Area (E2SFCA) method and travel-time-constrained capacitated p-median model. This is performed to decide on the locations of field hospitals, while a sensitivity analysis addresses hospital capacity, demand level, and the number of field hospital locations. Four counties in Florida are selected to implement the proposed approach. Findings can be used to identify the ideal location(s) of capacity expansions concerning the fair distribution of field hospitals in terms of accessibility with a specific focus on vulnerable strata of the population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103794
JournalInternational journal of disaster risk reduction
Early online date9 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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