NY Hopes Barcode Wristband Will Help Track Disaster Evacuees

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State officials are creating a new identification system to help monitor the whereabouts of hospital patients and long-term-care residents during natural disasters and other large disruptions.

During Sandy, more than 13,000 people were evacuated from facilities overseen by the state but many of these people could not be located by loved ones for days.

The new program, called “NYS e-FINDS,” will use barcode wristbands, like many hospitals now use on their own.

People who receive the wristbands would include those staying or living in hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, state psychiatric centers and juvenile detention centers.

Their locations would be updated and tracked when they are evacuated using hand-held scanners, smart phones or if power and/or phones are out of service, paper.

Advocates are hopeful the new system will improve tracking, but they say this and other proposals by the state and city so far won’t help address the transportation problems the disabled faced in getting around or ensure that they will be relocated to an accessible facility.