U.S. activates system to help U.S. hospitals treat victims from HaitiFebruary 2nd, 2010 - 4:03 pm ICT by BNO News
WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday activated additional components of the National Disaster Medical System to help U.S. hospitals treat survivors of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
The activation will allow U.S. hospitals that treat Haitian patients evacuated with life-threatening injuries due to the earthquake, to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they incur. The first National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) flight could leave Haiti as early as tomorrow.
“Medical evacuations have only been used in limited instances where patients had medical needs that could not be met in Haiti,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “We are committed to working with Haitian people and the Government of Haiti to create long-term care facilities in-country. Continued medical assistance is critical to these efforts.”
Haitian and American patients will be referred by Haitian hospitals, NGOs, the USNS Comfort, or other facilities if they meet criteria for evacuation. These evacuations are being reserved for the rare patients with life-threatening conditions that cannot be handled within Haiti or by evacuation to another country. There must also be a reasonable chance that the patient can survive the flight and the treatment in the U.S.
Accredited hospitals, usually over 100 beds in size and located in large U.S. metropolitan areas, are encouraged to enter into a voluntary agreement with NDMS. Because this is a completely voluntary program, hospitals may, upon activation of the system, provide more or fewer beds than the number committed in the agreement.
In addition, public health experts from HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are participating on teams conducting rapid assessments of ongoing surveillance of health conditions in Haiti to help prevent and contain additional health threats to the people of Haiti following the earthquake.
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