A Message to the Community from Roy Vinyard, Asante Chief Executive Officer
At Asante, we have been closely following the developments of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and although there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in our service area, we take the threat very seriously.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is very low. However, if a person with Ebola symptoms comes to one of our hospitals, we will provide that person with the quality, compassionate care we provide to all our patients.
What we are doing
As the region’s largest, most comprehensive health-care system, Asante is committed to supporting the communities we serve. We have taken several measures – and will continue to take additional actions – to prepare for addressing the needs of a person who is suspected of having EVD.
- We are working closely with state and local public health officials, our nurses, and infectious disease experts to implement the most current CDC recommendations.
- We have updated our clinical procedures and training protocols based on the latest guidelines from the CDC.
- We are providing training of nurses, physicians, and other staff to ensure they can identify a person with Ebola by following national and state standards for early detection.
- We are providing comprehensive and ongoing training on the proper use of personal protection equipment.
Asante Ashland Community Hospital Designated a Tier 2 Ebola Assessment Hospital
The CDC has established three levels of hospital preparedness for the evaluation, testing, and management of patients with possible or confirmed EVD. They are:
Tier 1 - Ebola treatment centers
Tier 2 - Ebola assessment hospitals
Tier 3 - Frontline health-care facilities
As an extension of our commitment to the health and well-being of the community, Asante Ashland Community Hospital will serve as the Tier 2 Ebola assessment hospital for Southern Oregon. Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center and Asante Three Rivers Medical Center are Tier 3 facilities.
What Do the Tiers Mean?
The CDC defines each tier based on the capabilities the hospital must be prepared for:
Tier 1: Ebola treatment centers are prepared to provide comprehensive care to persons diagnosed with EVD for the duration of a patient’s illness. The list of Ebola treatment centers is updated weekly by the CDC. The nearest Tier 1 hospitals are located in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area.
Tier 2: Ebola assessment hospitals will provide up to 96 hours of evaluation and care to persons suspected of having EVD until the diagnosis is either confirmed or ruled out, and until discharge or transfer to an Ebola treatment center is completed.
Tier 3: Frontline health-care facilities will rapidly identify, triage, and isolate patients who have relevant exposure history, as well as the symptoms compatible with Ebola, as outlined by the CDC.
Why Asante Ashland Community Hospital?
Given the specialized needs to care for this type of patient and the resulting impact it can have on other health-care services within a hospital, AACH was designated a Tier 2 facility because:
- Asante Ashland Community Hospital has the trained staff and the physical layout within its hospital to address patient care needs throughout the diagnostic confirmation phase.
- Designated space has been identified within the hospital where a potential EVD patient could be segregated from other patient care activities, thus reducing the risk of contamination.
- Given the segregated location identification within Asante Ashland Community Hospital to care for a possible EVD patient, it is anticipated that there would be minimal impact on health-care services offered to other patients within the facility.
- If needed, trained staff from other Asante health-care facilities will be sent to Asante Ashland Community Hospital for additional support.
Identifying a Person with Ebola and the Risk
The Department of Homeland Security is tracking all people coming into the U.S. who are known to have traveled to areas affected by EVD. Those persons deemed at-risk of having Ebola are monitored in the community by local public health officials.
If a person shows symptoms of having EVD, the hospital will receive advance notice before the person is transported to Asante Ashland Community Hospital for evaluation and diagnostic confirmation. Within 96 hours, the patient would either be discharged, or transferred to a Tier 1 Ebola treatment center.
With monitoring measures in place, the likelihood of someone with EVD randomly walking into one of our facilities is very low. However, we will remain vigilant in our preparations. Our primary goal is to ensure the safety of all our patients, guests, employees, and others within our medical facilities.