Posts Tagged ‘Emergency Preparedness’

Wildfire Season Kicks Off

May 23rd, 2014

fireThe first big fire of the season started this week in Oak Creek Canyon- called the Slide fire.  Smoke is usually the first public health impact from wildland fires.  The air quality in Flagstaff and Sedona has been generally OK- but poor at times depending on the winds (smoke levels in Sedona have been high during the early morning hours the last couple of nights).  Here’s a link to the data for the ADEQ’s portable air quality monitors in the area.  The website includes hourly air quality data for East and West Flagstaff, Fort Tuthill, Camp Verde, Prescott, Sedona, Show Low, Springerville, and Payson.

We play a significant role in response where there are wildfires in Arizona.  Our licensing folks monitor the need for evacuation of hospitals, assisted living and behavioral health facilities.  Our environmental health folks work with the local health departments and the ADEQ to make decisions about health advisories related to smoke.  Our emergency preparedness staff supports local public health for any support we can give to protect the health of people who need to be evacuated and in surrounding areas.  You can read more in our Wildfire Smoke and Your Health brochure and in our ADHS Wildfire Plan.

 

A Key Measure of Preparedness Improves in AZ

March 18th, 2014

During a major crisis, such as an influenza pandemic, we might need to take extraordinary steps to ensure that healthcare workers have the medicines and supplies on hand to treat patients.  State, local, and federal agencies all participate in the Strategic National Stockpile program to help ensure that these critical resources are available during disaster situations.

The main purpose of our Strategic National Stockpile program is to distribute medicines, vaccine, and supplies during all types of public health emergencies.  This year, we improved that capability once again.  Scores for our state and local programs rose this year according to the CDC’s annual Technical Assistance Review.  Every year, the CDC looks at key “functional areas” across the state and in select local jurisdictions.  The Review score rose up to 97%, Maricopa County maintained its high mark of 99%, and Pinal County achieved a 100% in all 12 areas. 

These outstanding scores demonstrate our statewide commitment to the Strategic National Stockpile program, and highlight the extraordinary efforts of our public health preparedness teams.  Here’s how to learn more about the Strategic National Stockpile program.

 

This is An Exercise

November 20th, 2013

Arizona’s public health and healthcare system teamed up with the ADHS including our Bureau of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and the Arizona Division of Emergency Management last week in one of the largest preparedness exercises of the year. The objective was to test and build preparedness capabilities across the emergency management system in AZ.

More than 3,000 public health players tested the ability to communicate and coordinate under a long term power outage scenario. It was also a great opportunity for us to open our Health Emergency Operations Center and exercise our incident command system. We tested our ability to maintain continuity of operations and support public health and our healthcare partners in a disaster scenario. The exercise helped us achieve key deliverables for our preparedness grant programs and really moved us forward along our strategic map (to Promote and Protect Public Health and Safety) with the goal of preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. 

We explored some innovative preparedness strategies as we partnered with Local EMS, FEMA, the Department of Defense and the HHS as we coordinated patient movement requests, and tested information sharing systems to help best coordinate and integrate public health support across all levels (local, county, tribal, national). In all it was a great success and learning opportunity in that it validated our preparedness plans and identified key areas we can continue to strengthen and build upon for next year. You can do your part in keeping up to date on some basic online preparedness training courses (ICS100,700).

 

Guide to Community Prevention Services

October 22nd, 2013

Every so often- you run into a resource guide that stands above the rest.  I discovered one of those awhile back called the Guide to Community Preventive Services – and it’s a free resource to help you choose programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in communities.  The easy-to-read resource guide answers questions like: 1) Which program and policy interventions have been proven effective; 2) Are there effective interventions that are right for my community; and 3) What might effective interventions cost and what’s the return on investment?  

There are modules on different public health topics- and the evidence-based information is printed in colorful, easy-to-read formats.  Subjects include much of our core strategic plan activities in health and wellness including: Adolescent Health; Alcohol; Asthma; Birth Defects; Cancer; Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes; Emergency Preparedness; Health Communication; Health Equity; HIV/AIDS,STD’s, Pregnancy; Mental Health; Motor Vehicle Injury; Nutrition; Obesity; Oral Health; Physical Activity; Social Environment; Tobacco Use; Vaccines; Violence; and Worksites.  Learn more about The Community Guide, collaborators involved in its development and dissemination, and methods used to conduct the systematic reviews.

Guide to Community Prevention Services

October 3rd, 2012

Every so often- you run into a resource guide that stands above the rest.  I discovered one of those a couple of weeks ago when I was at a conference with the people in my job from around the country.  It’s called the Guide to Community Preventive Services – and it’s a free resource to help you choose programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in communities.  The easy to read resource guide answers questions like: 1) Which program and policy interventions have been proven effective; 2) Are there effective interventions that are right for my community; and 3) What might effective interventions cost and what’s the return on investment? 

There are modules on different public health topics- and the evidence-based information is printed in colorful, easy-to-read formats.  Subjects include much of our core strategic plan activities in health and wellness including: Adolescent Health; Alcohol; Asthma; Birth Defects; Cancer; Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes; Emergency Preparedness; Health Communication; Health Equity; HIV/AIDS,STD’s, Pregnancy; Mental Health; Motor Vehicle Injury; Nutrition; Obesity; Oral Health; Physical Activity; Social Environment; Tobacco Use; Vaccines; Violence; and Worksites.  Learn more about The Community Guide, collaborators involved in its development and dissemination, and methods used to conduct the systematic reviews.

Behavioral Health Care Licensing Web Refresh

February 29th, 2012

Our Office of Behavioral Health Licensing website has a brand-new look.  Check out their new landing page.  Everyone can now enjoy an updated and easy to use web format. The new site includes easy access to AZ Care Check (where the user can get up to date survey and enforcement results for a 3 year history)…  and you’re one click away from being able to access the on-line complaint system where the user can file a complaint to any of the Departments licensing Programs 24/7. 

Our Licensees can get the latest information of rules, statues and other important information for them. Prospective licensees can find important information on how to apply for a license, needed forms and other pertinent information. The public also has available, in an easy to follow format, information they may want to know about our team and the facilities we license. Their newsletters are now available on line as is information concerning emergency preparedness.

 

Regulatory Relief in a Public Health Emergency

February 17th, 2011

I often write about the benefits and leverage we can achieve for our public health goals by partnering with external organizations and Stakeholders, but sometimes the collaborative initiatives are with ourself.  Our Medical Facility Licensing and Emergency Preparedness teams have been working with our licensed facilities to figure out what they’d need in terms of regulatory relief if there’s a public health emergency.

For example, the question of granting and getting regulatory relief in a public health emergency is more complicated that it sounds right off the bat, because there are a host of federal (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) and state rules and regulations that apply (here’s info on the H1N1 declaration).  Kathy McCanna and Connie Belden from Licensing put together a terrific PowerPoint on this subject to help providers to incorporate waiver requests into their disaster plans.   They presented at the January Alternate Care System conference for the Central Region (Maricopa, Gila and Pinal Counties) and will be presenting the material next month at the Western Region conference.  Thanks for going above and beyond.

2011 Department Priorities Spotlight – Public Health Preparedness

January 4th, 2011

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.

Emergency Preparedness

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.

“Sink or Swim” Exercise

June 23rd, 2010

Our preparedness team organized and executed a Functional Exercise on Tuesday last week to test Arizona’s hospital system for Interoperable Communications, Tracking of Bed Availability, Deploying Volunteer Health Professionals, Fatality Management, and Medical Evacuation/Shelter-In-Place capabilities.  The exercise focused on hospital, local health, and state health Emergency Operations Center coordination.   

The exercise scenario was called Sink or Swim, and tested the system’s response to simulated flooding from a severe tropical storm that moved up the Gulf of California to Arizona.  Hospitals and clinic systems tested their emergency plans for communications outages, patient movement within facilities, and medical surge.  Seventy two hospitals, 11 county health departments, 6 community health centers, Indian Health Services, and the ADHS participated in the exercise.  In addition, the ADEM participated by activating the volunteer network. These exercises require a great deal of up-front work.  Congratulations to our federally funded preparedness team for putting together the successful drill.

"Sink or Swim" Exercise

June 23rd, 2010

Our preparedness team organized and executed a Functional Exercise on Tuesday last week to test Arizona’s hospital system for Interoperable Communications, Tracking of Bed Availability, Deploying Volunteer Health Professionals, Fatality Management, and Medical Evacuation/Shelter-In-Place capabilities.  The exercise focused on hospital, local health, and state health Emergency Operations Center coordination.   

The exercise scenario was called Sink or Swim, and tested the system’s response to simulated flooding from a severe tropical storm that moved up the Gulf of California to Arizona.  Hospitals and clinic systems tested their emergency plans for communications outages, patient movement within facilities, and medical surge.  Seventy two hospitals, 11 county health departments, 6 community health centers, Indian Health Services, and the ADHS participated in the exercise.  In addition, the ADEM participated by activating the volunteer network. These exercises require a great deal of up-front work.  Congratulations to our federally funded preparedness team for putting together the successful drill.