counciloninfectiousdiseaseWe’ve made a lot of progress implementing the provisions outlined by the Governor’s Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response late last year including: 1) successful designation of 2 hospitals; 2) receiving new funding to support accelerated infectious disease preparedness planning and response; and 3) approval of a new award to enhance hospital readiness.

New Infectious Disease Preparedness & Response Funding
In late January we received a $2.4M CDC grant award to support accelerated infectious disease preparedness planning and response over an 18-month project period.  We’ve been developing objectives to fulfill the cooperative agreement that will: 1) accelerate public health preparedness planning; 2) improve operational readiness; 3) support local public health response efforts; and 4) coordinate with healthcare systems to develop a tiered system for patient care related to illnesses like Ebola.

This money will help Arizona to enhance community preparedness, provide monitoring of returning travelers from West Africa, build laboratory testing capacity, assure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, and work on prehospital and public health response planning.  To date, Arizona has monitored 62 low risk travelers and 8 some risk travelers returning from West Africa. 

Hospital Designation & Support
Last month the CDC officially recognized Maricopa Integrated Health System and University of Arizona Health Network as Infectious Disease Treatment Centers of Excellence, joining the list of 55 Ebola Treatment Centers in the US.  These 2 hospitals will now qualify for hospital preparedness funds announced by the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response last month.  Other hospitals may qualify for smaller awards from this grant as well.

The new hospital grant focuses on preparedness for new and emerging pathogenic diseases and builds upon the Interim Guidance for U.S. Hospital Preparedness for Patients under Investigation or with Confirmed Ebola Virus Disease:  A Framework for a Tiered Approach.  Arizona was awarded $1.8M for this one-time 5-year project period.  The grant focuses on supporting preparedness activities designated Infectious Disease Centers of Excellence (aka Ebola Treatment Centers), assessment hospitals, and healthcare coalitions for overall healthcare system readiness.

One of the hallmarks of an effective public health and healthcare partnership is the ability to quickly adapt and respond to emerging infectious disease threats.  The quick and efficient work of the Governor’s Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response to develop an effective system for identifying, assessing, transporting and treating potential Ebola patients is clear evidence that Arizona has world-class partnerships.