Healthcare Coalition to Congress: Action Needed to Protect the Integrity of Healthcare System; Equipment Needed to Protect Healthcare Workers at US Hospitals and Troops in Africa From Ebola Medical Wa

November 11, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 11, 2014) — The Healthcare Coalition has called upon the Senate to quickly implement policies, procedures, and technologies to protect the integrity of our medical system and our frontline healthcare workers, which will promote confidence and maintain the integrity of our healthcare system and government agencies’ ability to protect the public.''

As top medical infectious experts are forecasting more possible new Ebola diagnoses in the US by year’s end, questions remain about Ebola and our nation’s preparedness to protect healthcare workers and troops from the Ebola medical waste threat, and the cost of current waste handling policies for hospitals.''

“We urge policy makers to take a comprehensive approach of allocating our resources towards preparedness and response solutions for public health in the US and Africa based on current and near ready technologies in addition to federal funding,” HCEP Executive Director Darrell Henry said. “We need the Congress, the states, public officials, healthcare providers, and associations to all work together to protect healthcare workers, the public, and our troops deployed overseas in Africa.” ''

In regard to Ebola waste, it is very contagious as it contains the infected body fluids that transmit the disease from one person to another. The deadly consequences of Ebola waste was, unfortunately, reinforced by the recent death of an Ebola victim in Germany who was in charge of medicals waste disposal at a clinic in Liberia. Therefore, the matter of addressing Ebola waste is a misunderstood danger and public risk that must be responsibly and realistically addressed as part of a complete ‘creation to sterilization’ infection control process on-site where such patients are treated. ''

We believe that there are simple solutions that can be implemented quickly, including designating treatment centers; engaging mobile triage centers; implementing more conservative protections for healthcare workers; establishing rapid response force; disinfecting solid and liquid waste on-site as close to the source as possible; and considering the deployment of mobile waste sterilizers to medical centers. Since the VA’s fourth mission is to be our country’s healthcare backstop, the committee should consider providing additional funding to the VA and all federal medical facilities for staff training, medical waste treatment equipment, and other preparedness needs. ''

The HCEP recently sent letters outlining these concerns and solutions to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all state health commissions, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Congress. ''

Thirty years ago, most hospitals incinerated medical waste on-site until the health threat of carcinogens became better known and they were shut down. Today, most hospitals still rely on outsourcing medical waste via truck to be treated at an off-site location that is often miles away. However, around 1,000 hospitals in America have on-site waste sterilization systems in daily use to treat Category A infectious substances. These existing and affordable technologies can kill all Category A pathogens such that infected items become sterile, safe for handling by healthcare workers (and even the public), and require no further treatment by hospitals to transport or dispose of with general waste—per various federal government and international guidelines.

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About The Healthcare Coalition for Emergency Preparedness '

The Healthcare Coalition for Emergency Preparedness was formed in an effort to raise awareness and educate people about often overlooked issues in plans to maintain healthcare facility operations during a crisis and to develop efficient methods to reduce healthcare costs. To learn more about the coalition, please visit www.HealthCarePrep.org.