Now that the CDC has stepped up its monitoring and support for Ebola, with airport screenings (not sure how effective this will be) and rapid lab responses for blood screenings, it is a good time to review how we resource disease surveillance in the nation. In the case of hospitals, with the exception of the Veteran’s Administration and university hospitals, most are private facilities. This means Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas had to shell out the money for extra hazard gear, extra cleaning costs, and extra staffing for Ebola. If we are going to expect a private facility to provide this type of intensive support for prevention of highly contagious and highly fatal diseases, we need to look at how we fund these services. Certainly syphoning new Ebola patients to trauma centers is wise, but that in and of itself is not a cure, more like a Band-Aid.
Regarding the other facilities targeted for Ebola triage, of concern is the poor intensive care staffing score for Bellevue Hospital in New York City, sounds like this place could use an infusion of capital from the big apple. And it should be unacceptable for any publicly funded facility to refuse to provide patient safety reporting information on basic stuff like hand washing, identification and mitigation of safety risks, and their nursing staff standards & staffing (Bellevue and Emory). Finally, thank you to Texas Health Dallas Presbyterian for going first in this fiasco because the nation learned a lot at your expense. Clearly you run a first rate facility, based on your reported patient safety data, so maybe you can petition our federal government’s Health and Human Services for some disaster relief money.