Warner, Kaine request information on Ebola readiness in Virginia hospitals

ebola4U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine sent letters to Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Services William Hazel and President and CEO of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) sean connaughton requesting information on what is being done to ensure Virginia hospitals and health professionals have the supplies, training and information they need to effectively identify and treat any patients who present symptoms of Ebola.

The senators asked whether additional resources from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), or other federal agencies would help hospitals in the Commonwealth with preparedness efforts.

“Hospitals and providers are the first line of defense for the public, and Virginia is home to a robust public health infrastructure,” wrote Warner and Kaine in the letter to Connaughton. “While there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Virginia, it is important that the Commonwealth is fully prepared to address any potential public health need.”

In their letters, Warner and Kaine asked the two officials to clarify how the VHHA and HHS are preparing to disseminate health and safety information to hospitals and personnel and how hospitals are educating and training staff on appropriate infectious disease protocols.

“We were pleased to see Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine’s testimony yesterday, and request details on how your department is making sure that all necessary information is readily available to hospitals, and how it is working with hospitals and providers to ensure they are fully trained and prepared in the event there is a case here,” Warner and Kaine wrote to Secretary Hazel.

In September, Kaine co-sponsored a resolution to recognize the current threat Ebola poses to West africa and the potential threat the virus poses to other regions around the globe.

On October 3, Senator Warner sent a letter to Secretary Burwell and Secretary Johnson urging more aggressive action, including enhanced screenings at airports and better collaboration with state and local health departments. The Administration began these enhanced screenings at international gateway airports, including at Dulles, this week. Additionally, the President has designated a point person to be in charge of all federal efforts to improve coordination between agencies, as Senator Warner called for on Monday.

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