President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13527 on December 30, 2009, directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to establish a National USPS Medical Countermeasure (MCM) dispensing model. Section 2 of this Executive Order requires the creation of a National USPS Model (hereafter referred to as the Postal Model) for the residential delivery of MCM following a biological attack. The Postal Model is an additional option that States or municipalities (cities or counties) may consider in enhancing their MCM distribution capability while supplementing existing distribution mechanisms. It also provides the framework for the formalization of the HHS/USPS Joint Program Enterprise.
- Scenario: Outdoor aerosolized release of anthrax is the baseline for planning related to bio-attacks requiring the deployment of post exposure prophylaxis.
- Goal: Provide preventive antibiotics to 100 percent of the potentially exposed population as quickly as possible, ideally within 48 hours of the decision to deploy such assets.
- HHS Support: In support of State and local public health authorities, HHS will provide home Antibiotic Kits for the USPS volunteers and members of their households; medical screening for the antibiotics; and applicable personal protective equipment including the fit testing for N-95s. Additionally, based on the availability of funds, HHS will enter into cooperative agreements.
The USPS has the unique ability to deliver self administrable MCM within one day to every residence in a designated geographic area; the objective being, to initiate direct residential delivery of antibiotics as soon as possible and to complete delivery within 12 hours. This envisioned quick strike could do much to meet the immediate wide-area need for life-saving drugs while local authorities put into operation their plans for dealing with post-attack needs for disease prevention and emergency health care services during the ensuing weeks or months.
Cooperative Agreements with State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Partners
On January 28, 2011, the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO) within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) issued Funding Opportunity Announcement EP-PMC-11-001: Postal Model for Medical Countermeasures Delivery and Distribution, which helps metropolitan areas augment their capabilities to respond to a large-scale bioterrorism attack. This opportunity focuses on developing and testing collaborative arrangements whereby USPS and local law enforcement agencies, under the direction of the local or State public health authority, would deliver self-administrable antibiotic drugs to every residence in the affected area, potentially the entire community, with the goal of preventing disease and death and thus avoiding a public health catastrophe.