Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
HPP has provided funding to the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) since 2002. This sustained investment, along with the Ebola emergency supplemental funding, allowed New York City and its partner health facilities and emergency management organizations to successfully respond to one of only a few confirmed patients with Ebola in the U.S.
Prior to October 23, 2014, when the doctor who had just returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital Center, NYC DOHMH had already started activating resources and plans with hospitals, public health laboratories, and other health care entities and first responders to collaboratively prepare. HPP funding enabled the creation of travel history, fever and rash protocols and subsequent trainings on these protocols at New York City Hospitals. These protocols, which had been designed long before the 2014 Ebola outbreak, gave health care workers years of practice implementing strong precautions and identifying patients with emerging infectious diseases, such as Ebola.
HPP funding also supported the development and maintenance of the Bellevue Hospital Center quarantine and isolation unit and clinical and procedural protocols, guidelines, plans, and other resources. Additionally, HPP funding was utilized in the weeks prior to the arrival of the first Ebola patient to ensure health care responder safety through no-notice first patient drills that test a facility’s ability to properly identify, assess, isolate, and treat patients, as appropriate.
Bellevue staff confirmed the patient to be Ebola-free after he spent 20 days in isolation and discharged him home. In total, over 100 Bellevue staff members ranging from doctors and nurses to waste handlers and administrative employees were involved in his round-the-clock care. Meanwhile, Bellevue staff continued to care for regular patients in its 750-bed hospital, 50-bed intensive care unit, and emergency department, which sees about 300 patients a day.
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