Earth Science News  





. Hospitals Cannot Sustain Flu Plan

File photo: There are concerns over a range of hospital operations, including increasing numbers of clinic beds, securing additional medical machines, and ensuring that personnel will show up for work during a disaster.
by Todd Zwillich
Washington (UPI) Apr 20, 2006
Hospital leaders warned Tuesday that they lack the resources to properly prepare for a potential flu pandemic or other disaster while maintaining day-to-day operations.

Bush administration officials have repeatedly stressed that local authorities including governments, businesses, schools and hospitals must have individual plans to deal with a pandemic like the one threatened by avian flu.

A national pandemic readiness plan due out this week from the White House is expected to reinforce the strategy.

"There is no way that (Washington) can respond to every home town in America at the same time" if a pandemic occurs, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Tuesday at a disaster preparedness summit sponsored by the magazine U.S. News & World Report.

"The foundation of pandemic preparedness is local planning. It has to be," Leavitt said.

But directors of some large hospitals expected to act on the front lines of such a response say they don't have the financial resources needed to beef up readiness.

Concerns cover a range of hospital operations, including increasing numbers of clinic beds, securing additional medical machines, and ensuring that personnel will show up for work during a disaster.

"The problem is, we are just good enough for what happens now," said W. Frank Peacock, IV, chairman of emergency preparedness at the Cleveland Clinic.

Peacock said his hospital has to double its number of staffed hospital beds to be ready to treat potentially tens of thousands of sick Clevelanders expected if a pandemic hit. But operating margins are too thin to allow for a sustained scale-up, he warned.

"To ask any industry to double its infrastructure with no funding is really a hard row," Peacock said.

The Bush administration asked Congress for $7.1 billion in funding for a national pandemic plan. But the vast majority of the money goes toward programs to speed vaccine and medicine development and to boost the capacity of the U.S. vaccine industry.

Only a fraction is targeted toward cities and states to fund preparedness. Leavitt says tha communities must formulate their own plans without relying on Washington.

But other hospital leaders say they've funded preparedness efforts at the expense of other functions. Edward Miller, chief executive officer of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said the hospital has spent $11 million on disaster readiness, only $1 million of which came from outside the university.

"It comes out of other programs that we're not funding," he said.

Miller warned that most hospitals cannot afford extra respiratory ventilators and other medical equipment that would become essential to treat a surge in people with a respiratory illness like the flu.

"It's nice for the secretary to say we should stockpile ventilators, but most of us don't have the money to buy two, three, four hundred ventilators," he said. "This is not a sustainable business plan."

Congress has agreed to half the $7.1 billion requested by the White House for pandemic plan. The administration is expected to request the second half in the coming weeks. "I expect that Congress will respond when it's presented," Leavitt said.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
-

Global Partnerships Fight Avian Flu
Washington (UPI) Apr 20, 2006
Partnerships between public institutions and private companies are becoming the most effective means of combating an avian flu pandemic and its potential effects on the human population in Southeast Asia.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Repeat Of US 1906 Quake Would Kill Thousands, Cost Billions
  • San Francisco Quake And Fire Revolutionized Insurance World
  • New Orleans Mayoral Race To Shape Future Of Storm-Ravaged City
  • Indonesian Leader Calls For More Disaster Cooperation

  • Scientists Urge Canada To Act Now To Halt Global Warming
  • New Book Addresses Societal Impact Of Global Warming
  • Carbon Cycle Was Already Disrupted Millions Of Years Ago
  • Well-Informed Citizens Consider CO2 Storage To Be Acceptable

  • SAIC Acquires Geo-Spatial Technologies
  • GeoEye To Keep An Eye On Farming Crop Subsidies For Europe
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Gauge Indian Ocean Pollutants
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Gauge Indian Ocean Pollutants

  • China's Three Gorges Dam Nears Completion
  • Making Alternative Fuel Becomes More Efficient with Dual-Catalyst System
  • Growth Rate Tops Consumption
  • First Fuel-Cell Police Car Delivered By Chrysler

  • China Reports New Human Case Of Avian Flu
  • Global Partnerships Fight Avian Flu
  • Hospitals Cannot Sustain Flu Plan
  • TGN1412 Clouds Future Of Superantibodies

  • Picking The Best Parent For Your Chicks
  • How The Octopus Forms An Elbow
  • New Stingray Species Discovered In Thailand
  • Walrus Calves Stranded By Melting Sea Ice

  • Czech Minister Tells Germany To Collect Rubbish Or Pay For Removal
  • Turkish Resort Pump Tons Of Wastewater Into Aegean Sea
  • Pollution Threat From China A 'Far Eastern Chernobyl'
  • Water Supply Of Malaysian State Hit By Pollution

  • Britons Warned Over Chinese Organ Transplant Harvesting
  • US Nuclear Power Dangers
  • Americans Love Competition - Is It Pushing Scientists Too Far
  • Mankind Benefits From Eating Less Meat

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement