Testimony in Congress points to necessity of improved medical preparedness for response
| 09.29.2006 | 05:29:15 | Views: 2485 | ID:
September 29 '06: According to the Washington Post Thursday, during congressional testimony on Wednesday, medical officials said the nation's emergency rooms and hospitals are at "the breaking point" and currently suffer from understaffing, slow response and overcrowding.
If a large-scale disaster were to hit the US regionally, or locally, many hospitals would not be able to respond under the surge of patients and victims seeking medical care.Those findings came from three reports from the National Institutes of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June, (see each report here: 1, 2, and 3), and Frederick C. Blum, the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians who told lawmakers that hospitals across the country need to work on "boarding", which according to the Post "is the practice in which emergency patients who are admitted ... are left in the emergency department because no regular beds are available." Blum continued to say that "currently [we] have no surge capacity to deal with the next big thing that comes along, be it a terrorist attack or a natural disaster." Blum's comments were supported by other medical officials: Leon L. Haley Jr., chief of emergency medicine for Grady Health System in Atlanta "suggested providing financial incentives for primary care physicians to see patients after hours so that fewer people with non-emergency conditions seek treatment at hospitals." In addition to Haley and Blum's comments, Nancy M. Bonalumi who is the president of the Emergency Nurses Association said more federal support and funding should be given to nursing programs across the country to help address the nursing shortage while Robert R. Bass the executive director of the Maryland Institute of EMS systems "said experts believe that the federal government should help fund the development of a network of regional, coordinated emergency care systems," the Post reported.
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