Public/Private cooperation best for medical response to pandemic
| 07.18.2006 | 06:23:36 | Views: 3086 | ID:
July 18 '06: A new article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found the greatest benefit to pandemic flu preparedness is an "effective coordination among state and local public health authorities and individual health care providers." The article, the result of work compiled by the American College of Physicians, looked at the responsibilities set forth in federal plans to plan, prevent and address the threat of a flu pandemic, should it hit the United States. In the article, eight recommendations were given to help address better practices and methods of confronting pandemic response.
Federal efforts to help state and local governments across the US have manifest themselves in grant moneys doled out by the Health and Human Services Agency under the guidance of Secretary Michael Leavitt. Back in March, governors from across the country took part in conferences to discuss pandemic flu response plans.According to the Associated Press, in Chicago, "Pandemic training exercises in the state have revealed gaps and potential shortages in supplies including vaccines and ventilators, and in coroners and other trained responders." Of the eight recommendations, overall cooperation of federal, state and local governments, responders, medical responders and emergency management officials is essential. The ACP recommended "strengthening public health emergency preparedness efforts through supporting the development of local task forces that include physicians representing all practice settings." Other recommendations included giving medical responders and front-line physicians "access to 2-way communication with public health authorities and to information technology tools for diagnosis and syndrome surveillance." Additionally, medical responders should be given the authority to make quick decisions in the field during an emergency for "overriding standard procedures for confidentiality and consent in the interests of the public's health." The final four recommendations included: infection control guidelines that are clear and fair; a seasonal analysis of current flu vaccine programs to make medicines and their distribution more effective; federal funding to provide for one hundred percent flu vaccination as well as at least 25 percent antiviral drugs; and nonhospital, alternative settings to fall back on when traditional locations for medical treatment are not available.
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