Baton Rouge – Through the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the Department of Health has awarded $1.6 million in funding to hospitals for the development of preparedness response plans to be implemented in the event of a bioterrorism event.
LDH has provided $1,660,480 to the Louisiana Hospital Association. LHA will then distribute the funds to individual hospitals, with the amounts ranging from more than $13,000 to some of the state’s largest urban hospitals to just over $1,000 to several smaller hospitals.
Through this funding, participating hospitals must establish emergency response plans within their individual hospitals and in conjunction with other hospitals. They must also create the infrastructure to allow hospitals throughout the state to collaborate on emergency planning and response efforts.
Within specific regions of the state, hospitals must develop plans that allow for them to accommodate and treat an increase in at least 500 additional patients. This “surge capacity” is necessary in the event that many people become infected and seek treatment all at once. The plan also addresses how each hospital within its region will organize its staffing during an imminent threat or situation that results in mass casualties.
According to David Hood, LDH secretary, one of the most important results of this funding will be to create an infrastructure that ensures swift and accurate of identification and treatment of a possible bio-threat.
“The ability to notify, activate and mobilize our hospital resources throughout the state or within a specific region is vital to our ability to contain an outbreak,” Hood explained. “The hospitals are to be commended for their work that resulted in the funding being approved. The result is that Louisiana has already significantly increased its capacity to respond should a bioterrorism emergency occur.”
Funding from HRSA was a two-phase process. Phase I, representing 20 percent of the monies, was delegated to a contractual relationship between the Department of Health and the Louisiana Hospital Association, in collaboration with the LSU Health Sciences Center, for the planning and implementation efforts to accomplish the grant activities. Phase II, representing the remaining 80 percent of the funds will go directly to the hospitals.
Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer, said the allocation of the funding has been determined by collective efforts of the HRSA Executive Committee, the HRSA Advisory Committee and the Designated Regional Coordinators.
“In order to receive the funds, the administrator of each participating hospital had to prepare and sign a spending agreement,” Guidry said. “This agreement prioritizes how each hospital will spend their funds. This is determined individually based upon the needs of each facility and an assessment of their risks for being involved in a bioterrorism emergency.”
For information about awards given to specific hospitals, contact Rosanne Prats at LDH, 225-342-5168.