Ebola update: CMS works with CDPHE on education, outreach

Monday, October 27, 2014 08:21 AM
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As Ebola continues to garner substantial media coverage, the public has responded with increasing anxiety to the virus’ arrival on U.S. shores. The Colorado Medical Society is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the state agency dedicated to protecting the health and environment in Colorado, to arm physicians with the resources they need to reassure the public and protect themselves.

CMS has pledged our full cooperation and support to the Office of the Governor and to CDPHE. We strongly support the department’s goal of making sure that public health, health systems, health care professionals and other partners are prepared to recognize a potential Ebola case, to halt its transmission efficiently and quickly, and to protect our frontline health care providers.

On Tuesday, Oct. 21, CMS President Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, MD, participated in a press conference called by the governor’s office by answering media questions; click here to read the CMS media release. On Thursday, Oct. 23, Mark Johnson, MD, a public health official who will soon begin service on the CMS Board of Directors, represented CMS at a legislative hearing. Also on Oct. 23, CMS held meetings with the Colorado Hospital Association and a conference call with CDPHE physician leaders.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released tightened guidance for U.S. health care workers on personal protective equipment (PPE) on Oct. 20. This guidance is intended for health care workers entering the room of a patient hospitalized with Ebola virus disease. Click here to read more.

The CDC is expected to issue guidance soon for outpatient physicians; we’ll distribute this guidance as it is available. CDPHE has distributed a Health Alert on this topic that is available here and provides links to additional CDC resources.

CDPHE continues to urge Colorado physicians to implement a three-step process for every patient encounter:

  • Ask
    • All patients if they have traveled to Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia within 21 days.
    • About symptoms consistent with Ebola Virus Disease (see symptoms below)
    • Everyone, every time
  • Isolate

    • If both criteria are met, isolate the patient in a single patient room (with private bathroom) with door closed.
  • Call

    • Call hospital leadership, and
    • Call CDPHE at (303) 692-2700 (evenings and weekends: (303) 370-9395). Also notify CDPHE of any patients reporting exposure to Ebola, even if they have no symptoms.

Note: Public health experts recommend that when screening, if symptoms are present but there is no travel history, follow normal processes for a patient with respiratory or viral illness, especially as we enter flu season.

A simple poster outline the principles of “Ask, Isolate, Call” is available on CDPHE’s website. Click here to access it.

CMS is working with CDPHE to develop physician education that is concise and easily accessible. One segment of this education will specifically target outpatient physicians who aren’t on a hospital staff so they and their staff are prepared if a potential Ebola patient arrives for diagnosis.

Click here to visit CMS’ resource page on Ebola; it is updated often with the latest information.

Posted in: ASAP | Initiatives | Patient Safety and Professional Accountability


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