Six Massachusetts hospitals have formed a collaborative system to handle Ebola patients, even though there have been no Ebola cases in the state and public health officials say the risk is “extremely low.”
The Department of Public Health announced Friday that Baystate Medical Center in Springfield as well Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center in Boston would accept transfers from other hospitals in Massachusetts based on existing referral relationships and capacity.
Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett says the collaboration “shows that Massachusetts health care providers are well prepared” and that the plan will help ease pressure on the few hospitals nationwide that have already treated Ebola patients.
Each of the state’s hospitals and their emergency departments are able to screen, identify and isolate suspected cases, and will coordinate with the state on risk assessment and transfers as needed.
Paul Biddinger, the medical director of emergency preparedness at Partners HealthCare, says Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mass General are well prepared for the event of an Ebola patient.
“Hundreds of people at each hospital have spent incalculable hours in the necessary planning, training and practice efforts needed to respond to the challenges posed by this disease,” Biddinger said.
With reporting from the WBUR newsroom and the Associated Press. This post will be updated with additional reporting by WBUR’s Martha Bebinger.
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