DOH Holds Ebola Informational Conference Call for Provider Associations

Nancy Leveille and Karen Morris in Clinical & Quality

Nursing Home Provider Associations were invited to participate on a conference call with DOH staff recently. Dr. Debra Blog, Director, NYSDOH Division of Epidemiology presented an overview of the current Ebola outbreak and reviewed the travel screening protocols that have been put into place in airports and local health departments. All travelers from the effected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are being directed through five US airports: JFK, Newark, Dulles, O’Hare and Altanta where they are screened and if necessary, they are then referred to their local health departments whose staff track them for 21 days.

DOH reported they have developed an advisory  document for long term care facilities and they anticipate it will be approved and released “soon. In the meantime, they stated SNFs are not required to stock enhanced PPE such as headgear, booties etc that is required in hospitals nor screen residents for exposure to Ebola. If you are admitting a resident directly from home, you may choose to ask screening questions before they arrive, remembering again, anyone who answers yes will have already been screened and/or tracked by local DOH (ie have you traveled to an Ebola effected area within the last 21 days or have you been in contact with anyone who has.) You are reminded the requirements in the Commissioners Order, which is posted at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/ebola/commissioners_orders_q_and_a.htm do not apply to SNFs. 

Per a previous MM, NYSHFA has encouraged providers to place signage discouraging visiting by anyone who may have traveled to effected countries or been exposed to those who have. We have requested DOH develop said signage and they stated they are developing it.  Providers should also develop policies related to the return to work of employees who may choose to travel to effected areas, remembering these folks will have been screened at the airport and monitored by local DOH upon their return. A previous NYSHFA MM addressed the labor laws that relate to this issue.


We await further clarification on all these issues when the advisory is released. DOH also asked us to remind providers to insure their HCS accounts are up to date to insure they are receiving all the information DOH is posting. Below are the resources DOH shared with us:

Resources:
Calls from the general public –the State Information line for answers to questions about Ebola. 1-800-861-2280 is free and trained operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Calls from the general public –the State Information line for answers to questions about Ebola. 1-800-861-2280 is free and trained operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This line is for public health information purposes only. If callers require medical attention, they should be instructed to call their health care provider or 9-1-1 immediately.

Providers should go to the NYSDOH Public Website Ebola page http://www.health.ny.gov which includes frequently asked questions (FAQs). It is recommended that you check this site daily. Additional questions, not included in FAQs, may be submitted to Ebola.preparedness@health.ny.gov for inclusion in the FAQs.

CDC website:  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html
Could it be Ebola?:  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/could-it-be-ebola.pdf

NYSHFA CONTACTS
Nancy Leveille

Senior Director, Member Operational Support
518-462-4800, ext. 20

Karen Morris

Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800, ext. 15