FCHN Shares Pandemic Flu Plan with Louisiana Health System
October 10, 2007
In photo from left: Randy Gauvin, PA-C, FCHN Emergency Preparedness Coordinator; Deoine Reed, PhD, Hospital/Healthcare Epidemiologist and Infection Control Manager; Sandra Kemmerly, MD, Medical Director of Clinical Practice Improvement; Norris Yarbrough, Assistant Vice President of Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Randy Gauvin, PA-C, Franklin Community Health Network's (FCHN) Emergency Preparedness coordinator recently returned from Louisiana where he shared the health network's Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan with officials from Ochsner Health System, the largest hospital system in Louisiana.
According to Gauvin, Deoine Reed, Hospital/Healthcare Epidemiologist and Infection Control Manager, contacted him to request permission to use FCHN's Pandemic Flu Plan, which she found on the Internet. "She indicated it to be the only completed hospital-based plan she was able to find," he said. "She also asked if I could visit their health center, present our plan, and facilitate a meeting to help them prepare their own plan."
In April 2006, Franklin Community Health Network unveiled its Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan to ensure efficient and immediate response in the event of a local bird flu outbreak. The Plan addresses issues such as communications, education, medicines, and admissions. FCHN was the first hospital network in Maine to develop such a plan.
Gauvin accepted Reed's invitation and arrived in Louisiana on October 1. He presented a daylong program of the process used to institute FCHN's Plan and shared lessons-learned to an audience of approximately 25 personnel from Ochsner Health System and from the Louisiana Public Health System. Gauvin also distributed materials developed by FCHN including preparedness brochures, triage protocol, and a report of the drill that tested the plan.
According to Gauvin, Ochsner Health System consists of seven hospitals and 40 health centers across southern Louisiana. They were one of only three hospitals of ten in the city to remain open during and after Hurricane Katrina, and had the only operational pharmacy in greater New Orleans for three days.
"Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) and elsewhere believe that the world is now closer to another influenza pandemic than at any time since 1968, when the last pandemic occurred," said Gauvin. "WHO uses a series of six phases for reporting on the seriousness of the threat. We are presently in phase 3, which means a new influenza virus subtype is causing disease in humans, but is not yet spreading efficiently and sustainably among humans."
Before leaving Louisiana, Gauvin was given a tour of Ochsner's main facility and visited its full-time Incident Command Center.
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