Medical Marijuana will be implemented in April, 2011. The coordination of tasks to ensure smooth and efficient implementation is a huge goal for 2011 and cuts across Bureau lines, involving many distinct portions of not only Public Health Preparedness but the Agency as a whole.
Emergency Medical Services
Within the Bureau of Emergency Services and Trauma Systems, the highest priority is to conclude planning and implement a web-based EMT certification process. The Bureau processes approximately 10,000 initial or renewal EMT certifications each year by hand. Additionally, our highly successful Trauma Systems will continue to add level IV trauma hospitals and repeat our 2008 “Access to Trauma Care” analysis to determine the impact of the level IV Trauma Center Designation on delays in accessing trauma care in rural Arizona. We will perform a review and analysis of our current trauma triage criteria to determine if they are effective in matching the patient with the appropriate trauma care and trauma center
Bureau of Public Health Statistics
The Bureau of Public Health Statistics’ priorities for 2011 include making the Medical Marijuana Program successful, creating a self sufficient Vital Records Office, increasing the stability of our Cancer Registry, and ensuring high quality and timely vital statistics, hospital discharge, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and registry data is available to the Department and our public health partners.
The Bureau will continue to focus on building partnerships and coalitions. The best use of time is to focus on lessons learned from real events and exercises, so that we identify important deficient practices and that we leave a clear picture of what’s important for ADHS to assist our partners with during a response to Public Health Emergencies. Another goal is to assist our healthcare partners with plans to develop integration and interoperable communication strategies along with assisting them on training needs.
Epidemiology and Disease Control Services
As we move into 2011, the priorities of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control are to streamline our programs and become more efficient, all while continuing to serve our stakeholders, partners, and the public. Many of our offices are collaborating and looking for ways to provide more comprehensive programs: programs that don’t just address one disease or issue, but the entire patient as a whole. For example, we are currently working on developing a healthy homes program that will not only encompass childhood lead, but will also address asthma triggers, integrated pest management, utilization of green household cleaners, and appropriate weatherization. Improving our public health response is one of the top priorities and will involve improving the percent of tuberculosis cases that complete recommended treatment, ensuring that outbreaks and critical infectious disease cases are investigated within 48 hours and that appropriate interventions are implemented as soon as possible, enrolling HIV/AIDS clients into health reform insurance programs to provide them with better coverage and comprehensive care, promoting pertussis immunization initiative by serving as the inaugural state for the 2011 National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW).
Arizona State Public Health Laboratory
The primary goal of the Lab is to continue to seek out new grants and other sources of funding to expand and enhance our state of the art facility’s potential for serving public health needs in Arizona. The Lab is enhancing its Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), and STARLIMS, to standardize its work processes with other public health laboratories throughout the country and satisfy federal grant requirements for reporting of communicable diseases. The Lab/Epidemiology and Information Technology Services are working on the Public Health Laboratory Interoperability Project (PHLIP) to share results of influenza testing performed at the Lab directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through electronic encrypted messaging. Expansion of the PHLIP and HITECH projects will be continuing throughout the Fiscal Year 2011. The Lab will be enhancing its Tuberculosis (TB) testing services by expanding its nucleic acid amplification testing capacity, providing more rapid services to the community through the use of newer, less labor-intensive testing methods in 2011. The procedure also will allow for molecular detection of the gene linked with drug resistance to Rifampin, which is associated with multi-drug resistance in TB. The use of the new TB assay will reduce the turnaround time for drug resistance reporting from an estimated 7-14 days down to 2 hours. The Newborn Screening Program has received approximately $300,000 in grant funding from Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention for 2011. The program is partnering with the Ear Foundation to support efforts to detect hearing disorders. The Newborn Screening Program has received $150,000 in federal funds through the CDC to upgrade the hearing database for ongoing monitoring of newborn hearing screens.