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Cedars-Sinai will play a critical role in bolstering the nation’s front-line defense against Ebola and other highly infectious diseases under a federal grant meant to improve the response to emerging medical threats.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has tapped Cedars-Sinai to serve as a regional treatment center for patients with severe infectious diseases. The medical center and the California Department of Public Health will share a $3.25-million grant from the federal agency through fiscal year 2019 to strengthen the delivery of specialized emergency medical care.
Cedars-Sinai and the state health agency will become part of a national network of 10 regional treatment centers. The hospital will be responsible for patients from California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and U.S. territories in the Pacific.
“We are honored to take on this important leadership role in the nation’s healthcare system,” said Thomas M. Priselac, Cedars-Sinai’s president and CEO. “Doing so is consistent with our mission and commitment to the community and beyond in light of our role as a national leader providing the most advanced treatments to acutely ill patients with complex medical conditions from California and across America.”
As a regional treatment center, Cedars-Sinai has agreed to receive patients with severe infectious diseases within eight hours of notification; maintain infectious disease isolation capacity or negative-pressure rooms that prevent the spread of microorganisms; treat up to two Ebola patients concurrently; and accept patients from outside its region or those medically evacuated to the U.S. from overseas.
Cedars-Sinai will use the grant primarily to fund ongoing training of its Ebola Response Team and to purchase medical equipment as well as personal protective gear. In addition, the medical center is expected to conduct quarterly staff trainings and preparedness drills during the grant period.
The federal grant is part of $339.5 million in emergency funding appropriated by Congress in 2014 to ensure that the nation’s healthcare system is prepared to treat future patients with Ebola or other highly infectious pathogens.
“Ensuring the safety of all Cedars-Sinai patients, visitors and staff is our top priority,” said Rekha Murthy, MD, medical director of Hospital Epidemiology and professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cedars-Sinai. “Members of our Ebola Response Team will employ the most effective protocols and the best practices available to care for all of our patients and to maximize safety when dealing with infectious diseases.”