About CHUG


"CHUG’s Vision is to be the recognized leader and advocate for Individuals that need assistance with Functional Needs Support Services residing in Healthcare Facilities for emergency planning, response and recovery."


“To promote and develop integrated collaborations to support the specialized emergency preparedness requirements of Healthcare Organizations through research, education, planning and response programs and services”


The Collaborative Healthcare Urgency Group (CHUG) is an Illinois based 501c 3 Non-for-Profit organization that was formed to address a significant gap in disaster planning, specifically, the absence of a comprehensive and integrated community-wide evacuation plan for healthcare organizations. CHUG was founded by Executive Director, Connie Polke and Director of Operations, Bill Pretzer just over 19 years ago, following the tragic events of 9/11. Connie has over 38 years of healthcare experience while Bill has over 40 years of experience in the fire service, EMS, emergency management, training and consulting experience. This unique combination of experience and expertise was the right combination to ensure the early and long term success of the CHUG organization.


The CHUG plan was developed to provide a mutual aid system that addresses the health and well-being issues that individuals that need assistance with Functional Needs Support Services residing in healthcare facilities and may need assistance during an evacuation, transportation and relocation as a result of any hazard, disaster, or other urgent event.  The organization collaborates with local government, emergency management, public safety, hospitals, home health, transportation providers, health departments and other support organizations.


The CHUG evacuation, transportation, and relocation plan is designed to integrate with existing organizational, local, regional and statewide plans. The CHUG plan is National Incident Command System (NIMS) compliant, providing organizations with the tools and resources to effectively evacuate transport and relocate residents and patients. The most critical component of the plan is the intent to maintain the medical and, psychological care and independence of each patient or resident by utilizing a systematic triage process and then transporting the patient/resident via the appropriate level of transport to the appropriate level of receiving facility.


The CHUG plan is a comprehensive system that utilizes Standard Operating Guidelines, Job Action Sheets and NIMS compliant forms for Triage, Patient Tracking and Resource Utilization. The CHUG plan also includes an activation/notification system, communication plan and resource management components.


The CHUG plan is a time tested and proven plan, having been implemented on several occasions. The CHUG plan is continually revised and upgraded following major events, and large-scale exercises. The CHUG implementation and training program is state-of-the art providing participating organizations, with the education, training and confidence to safely and effectively execute the plan when needed.


The overarching goal of CHUG is to insure that all healthcare facilities have an up-to-date, functional and integrated plan that provides the information and skills to work collaboratively with all stakeholders including transportation providers, hospitals, Emergency Services, Health Departments and other support agencies. This goal and the subsequent coordinated/collaborative effort are a major paradigm shift in the planning for, responding to and recovering from emergencies and disasters for Healthcare Facilities.

© 2019 by Collaborative Healthcare Urgency Group (CHUG)