To further strengthen the nation’s infectious disease response capability, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected nine health departments and associated partner hospitals to become special regional treatment centers for patients with Ebola or other severe, highly infectious diseases.
HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has awarded approximately $20 million through its Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) to enhance the regional treatment centers’ capabilities to care for patients with Ebola or other highly infectious diseases. ASPR will provide an additional $9 million to these recipients in the subsequent four years to sustain their readiness.
“This approach recognizes that being ready to treat severe, highly infectious diseases, including Ebola, is vital to our nation’s health security,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “This added regional capability increases our domestic preparedness posture to protect the public’s health.”
Each awardee will receive approximately $3.25 million over the full five-year project period. This funding is part of $339.5 million in emergency funding Congress appropriated to enhance state and local public health and health care system preparedness following cases of Ebola in the U.S. stemming from the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
The facilities will be continuously ready and available to care for a patient with Ebola or another severe, highly infectious disease, whether the patient is medically evacuated from overseas or is diagnosed within the U.S.
The nine awardees and their partner hospitals are:
The regional facilities are part of a national network of 55 Ebola treatment centers, but will have enhanced capabilities to treat a patient with confirmed Ebola or other highly infectious disease. Even with the establishment of the nine regional facilities, the other 46 Ebola treatment centers and their associated health departments will remain ready and may be called upon to handle one or more simultaneous clusters of patients.
The facilities selected to serve as regional Ebola treatment centers will be required to:
Proposals from these facilities were reviewed by a panel of experts from professional associations, academia and federal agencies and were selected based upon extensive criteria published in the funding opportunity announcement released in February.
To be eligible for consideration as an Ebola and other special pathogen treatment center, facilities also had to be assessed by a Rapid Ebola Preparedness team led by the CDC prior to Feb. 20.
The Department is working with state health officials and hospital executives in HHS Region IX, which includes Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific island territories and freely associated states, to identify a partner hospital awardee.