When Ebola arrived unannounced in the United States last fall for the first time it quickly became apparent that many healthcare facilities were ill equipped to quickly diagnose, isolate, and treat hemorrhagic viral fever patients.
As a result a couple of weeks ago the HHS announced they had Selected 9 Regional Ebola & Special Pathogens Treatment Centers to provide specialized care for Ebola, MERS, and Avian flu cases.
Of course an infected patient can show up at any ER, so all hospitals need to be able to identify, and isolate highly infectious patients. Even if they are to be transferred to a specialized regional facility for long term treatment.
While not an every day occurrence, the risks of someone with Ebola, MERS, H5N1, Lassa Fever, or some other potentially dangerous pathogen walking unannounced into a crowded emergency are very real. In just over 12 months we’ve seen two Ebola cases (Dallas & New York), two MERS cases (Indiana & Florida), and two Lassa fever cases (New Jersey & Minnesota) show up unexpectedly in American hospitals.
As the number of global health threats increases, along with the rate of international travel, the odds for seeing this sorts of threats only goes up.
Today the HHS has announced funding for three hospitals to serve as training centers to help prepare other medical facilities to deal with Ebola, and other emerging infectious disease threats.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2015
Contact: HHS Press Office
Three hospitals funded to train, prepare other U.S. health care facilities for Ebola and emerging threats
To ensure that U.S. health care providers and facilities are prepared to safely identify, isolate, transport, and treat patients with Ebola and other emerging threats, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today launched a National Ebola Training and Education Center.
A collaborative effort among HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and three academic institutions, the program supports further training of health care providers and facilities on strategies to manage Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases.
Through the effort, ASPR and CDC will provide $12 million over the next five years to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia; Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska; and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, New York, which together will co-lead the National Ebola Training and Education Center.
“The National Ebola Training and Education Center contributes to our nation’s health security by developing and teaching evidence-based practices of experienced providers and health care institutions in caring for patients with Ebola and other serious infectious diseases,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS’ assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “While this training starts with Ebola, it also will help the health care community deal with other serious infectious diseases in the future.”
Emory University and Nebraska Medical Center have been working with CDC since December to train more than 460 health care workers from 87 health care systems, including 37 designated Ebola treatment centers, on all aspects of infection control and patient care for individuals with Ebola. Emory University and Nebraska Medical Center are offering additional training opportunities this summer for up to 400 staff from Ebola assessment hospitals.
The new National Ebola Training and Education Center will expand on the success of this initial work and offer state health departments and health care facilities additional access to the clinical expertise and training capabilities offered by these institutions.
“The ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa is proof that a threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere; the United States must continue to prepare,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “Hospitals are often the first place where a new disease threat is recognized. This new center will help our hospitals and healthcare workers prepare to handle new threats and safely care for patients.”
HHS recently announced nine regional Ebola treatment centers that are part of a national network of 55 Ebola treatment centers, but will have enhanced capabilities to treat a patient with confirmed Ebola or other highly virulent disease. Ebola treatment centers are staffed, equipped and have been assessed to have current capabilities, training and resources to provide the complex treatment necessary to care for a person with Ebola while minimizing risk to health care workers.
For more information on how to access the expertise through the National Ebola Training and Education Center, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Ebola, visit www.cdc.gov/ebola. To learn more about preparedness, response and recovery from the health impacts of emergencies, visit www.phe.gov.