ArizonaWe just finished the second meeting of the Governor’s Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.  At the 1st meeting (a couple of weeks ago) we outlined key priorities: 1) identifying an “Infectious Disease Treatment Center of Excellence” that would be proficient at treating emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola; 2) developing a parallel emergency medical services transport system; and 3) developing a communication plan that includes improving outreach to physicians across the state.  We’ve made good progress over the last couple of weeks on each.

This morning we took a big step forward.  Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) announced it will work toward becoming an “Infectious Disease Treatment Center of Excellence”.   By recognizing the  Maricopa Integrated Health System as an Infectious Disease Treatment Center of Excellence we’ll  be better able to: 1) develop a seamless infectious disease response plan as new infectious diseases emerge; 2) ensure smooth patient transport (if appropriate) avoiding unnecessary healthcare worker and community exposures; and 3) allow other hospitals to focus on screening and diagnosing patients.

In its news release, MIHS’ CEO Steve Purvis cited the importance of being the state’s only public health care system and said, “MIHS has proven time and time again that in a crisis, it will respond to meet public health challenges – from smallpox to tuberculosis to HIV/AIDS.”

We’ll be working with Maricopa County Public Health in the coming days and weeks to help MIHS with training their healthcare workers on all aspects of infectious disease response (including Ebola) as well as prioritizing personal protective equipment during shortages and back-orders. Recognition will be complete once the CDC conducts an on-site Hospital Readiness Assessment and our medical licensing team certifies the facility, which could occur about 3 weeks after we identify the hospital(s).

Stay tuned.