In an effort to bolster Ebola preparedness and response efforts among U.S. hospitals, the Department of Health and Human Services is making available more than $194 million in grants to states and health facilities.

According to HHS, this funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program is “intended to ensure the nation’s healthcare system is ready to safely and successfully identify, isolate, assess, transport, and treat patients with Ebola or patients under investigation for Ebola, and that it is well prepared for a future Ebola outbreak.”

Under the program, funding will be provided to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and select metropolitan jurisdictions to support healthcare facilities that are capable of serving as regional Ebola and other special pathogen treatment centers, Ebola Treatment Centers and assessment hospitals for their states or jurisdictions. In addition, grants will support healthcare coalitions to prepare frontline hospitals, emergency medical services agencies, and the overall healthcare system.

“This funding, in addition to the Ebola emergency funds that will soon be awarded through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, provides a total investment of $339,500,000 to enhance state, local and healthcare system preparedness for Ebola through the emergency appropriations passed with bipartisan support in Congress in December 2014,” states HHS. 

As part of this effort, HHS is seeking to establish a nationwide, regional treatment network for Ebola and other infectious diseases that will consist of: 

*Up to 10 regional Ebola and other special pathogen treatment centers, including one hospital in each of the ten HHS regions from among those that have already been designated by their state health officials to serve as Ebola Treatment Centers and have been assessed by CDC-led Rapid Ebola Preparedness (REP) teams.  These facilities will have enhanced capabilities to receive a confirmed Ebola patient.

*State or jurisdiction Ebola Treatment Centers that can safely care for patients with Ebola as needed.

*Assessment hospitals that can safely receive and isolate a person under investigation for Ebola and care for the person until an Ebola diagnosis can be confirmed or ruled out and until discharge or transfer are completed.

*Frontline health care facilities that can rapidly identify and triage patients with relevant exposure history and signs or symptoms compatible with Ebola and coordinate patient transfer to an Ebola assessment hospital.

In related news, a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development is funding a consortium led by San Diego’s Scripps Translational Science Institute to develop a program through which wearable, wireless health sensors, a wireless vital signs monitoring platform and advanced analytics technology will be tested in a new approach to treat Ebola.

Called STAMP2—short for Sensor Technology and Analytics to Monitor, Predict and Protect Ebola Patients—the initiative is aimed at testing the effectiveness of wireless technology to monitor and analyze vital signs of patients either suspected or confirmed to be infected with the Ebola virus. The hope is that continuous monitoring of vital signs, coupled with analytics, can lead to much earlier warning and with it, earlier intervention.

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