Posts Tagged ‘Public Health Emergency Preparedness’

What’s the Medical “Standard of Care” in an Emergency?

January 23rd, 2014

Good question.  Disasters and public health emergencies can stress health care systems to the breaking point and disrupt delivery of vital medical services. For example-  hospitals and long-term care facilities may be without power; trained staff, ambulances, medical supplies, and beds could be in short supply; and alternate care facilities may need to be used. 

You can imagine how difficult it would be to set alternative standards of care in the middle of an emergency- which is why we’ve been working with a statewide Crisis Standards of Care planning group since last January.  Our Public Health Emergency Preparedness team has been working with healthcare, public health, emergency management, and legal experts to develop a plan and a set of standards to guide the delivery of healthcare during the most catastrophic disasters- providing guidance for managing scarce resources (both people and stuff) in an emergency. 

A key resource is a landmark crisis standards of care report developed by the Institute of Medicine- which examines indicators and triggers that guide the implementation of crisis standards of care and provides a toolkit to help stakeholders establish indicators and triggers for their own communities.  The IOM report has toolkits for behavioral health, emergency management, emergency medical services, hospital care and public health.

Strategic National Stockpile Readiness

February 27th, 2013

The CDC’s “Strategic National Stockpile” is a large quantity of medicine and medical supplies that are available to states in case there’s a public health emergency (flu outbreak, asteroid, etc.) severe enough to cause local health supplies to run out.  Once federal and local authorities agree that the stockpile is needed, meds and supplies are delivered to any state in time for them to be effective. Each state is responsible for receiving and distributing the stockpile assets to local communities fast. 

Our Public Health Emergency Preparedness shop is responsible for the overall planning and execution in AZ.  The Plan (which isn’t posted on-line for security reasons) provides a step by step approach to accessing and distributing pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other medical equipment and products stored by the Feds.  Our Plan is evaluated yearly by the CDC.  The review covers every aspect of our plan… including how we communicate with the public, work with our healthcare and Agency partners as well as how we plan to work with vulnerable populations should SNS assets be needed. 

This year we got a score of 93% from the CDC…  and our partner counties (Pinal and Maricopa) received similar scores- demonstrating that the plans work together effectively to serve the public when they need to be activated.  We’ll be testing these plans during a full-scale exercise this week.  Congratulations to our preparedness rock-stars Teresa Ehnert, Marcus Castle, Stacey Cain and the whole emergency preparedness team! 

By the way…  we received and executed stockpile assets (antiviral medications and other healthcare supplies) during the 2009 H1N1 Influenza pandemic.  Our turnaround time from the minute we received the first shipment until everything was at its local destination was less than 36 hours- an impressive testament to our ability to plan and execute during a public health emergency.