Ebola and the public health system

Scores of Montefiore nurses gathered inside their facility to demand that management give a high priority to Ebola preparedness – in terms of training, equipment and infrastructure.

In October, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued non-mandatory guidelines to assist medical facilities in preparing for Ebola. The New York State Department of Health went a step beyond: requiring that medical facilities in NYS follow the CDC guidelines on Ebola protection for healthcare workers.

Across the country, calls for federal mandates – the highest, uniform standards – have been made. NYSNA members participated in National Nurses United (NNU)-sponsored rallies in New York City calling for federal mandates.

Throughout this extraordinary challenge, public health officials in New York, at the state and city level, have shown a strong commitment to working with frontline caregivers. NYSNA has been actively involved in monitoring facility Ebola preparedness plans.

The public system stood out

Working with an array of organizations, unions and public health entities, including the Commission on the Public’s Health System (see box, lower right), a broad consensus was formed to address concerns about the virus and alleviate both workplace and public responses to the deadly disease.

The public system – public officials, public health officers and the public hospital system – stood out for its leading role in setting standards for public health and safety.

The Commission on the Public’s Health System (CPHS)

Founded in 1991, CPHS is a citywide, community-based membership health advocacy organization.

It is a outstanding voice for the public health and hospital system, a voice for the allocation of public funding in the state and city budgets; a strong supporter of community organizing, and supporter of the healthcare safety net and access to healthcare services for everyone, particularly in low-income, medically-underserved, immigrant and communities of color.

For more information go to www.cphsnyc.org/cphs/What_We_Do

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