State health department receives bioterror grant

Filed under: Health Care |

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will receive a federal grant of $7.2 million for a bioterrorism hospital preparedness program.

The money will be used across the state to develop medical surge capacity and capability to deal with mass casualty events.

“With the attention given to the public health dangers of avian influenza and bioterrorism threats, this funding will go a long way in preparing Colorado hospitals in the event that an emergency arises,” Sen. Wayne Allard said.

The CDPHE will distribute the money to hospitals, emergency medical service agencies and other health care organizations to enhance planning, communication and information sharing, medical and pharmaceutical assets development and medical surge capacity. Some of the money will be used to improve security plans for intelligence sharing, support local National Incident Management System training for emergency response and provide resources for local health care communities to conduct exercises and drills.

A portion of the grant will be used to develop an electronic registration system for emergency medical volunteers to assist in contacting and deploying health care professionals in response to a public health emergency. The Colorado Public Health and Medical Volunteer System will be used to gather contact information, track training, certifications and skill sets, verify licenses and credential volunteers.

“Hospitals and other health care providers play a critical role in both identifying and responding to natural or man-made disasters, including acts of terrorism,” said Dr. Ned Calonge, chief medical officer at the CDPHE. “The state of Colorado is utilizing these grant funds to enhance capacity and capabilities of the medical emergency response throughout the state. These efforts support the national response plan and the interim national preparedness goal.”

The grant is administered through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to health care facilities and Emergency Medical Service agencies across the state.

Children’s Hospital receives St. Baldrick’s grant

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has given $50,000 to pediatric cancer researchers at Memorial’s Children’s Hospital to help find better treatments for Colorado children with cancer.

The money will benefit children in Colorado Springs through the partnership between Memorial Hospital for Children and Denver Children’s Hospital.

The grant was made possible by the efforts of St. Baldrick’s volunteers throughout the nation who shaved their heads to raise money. Support in Colorado came from 11 cities, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Estes Park, Durango and Pueblo.

The mission of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is to raise awareness and money to cure cancer by supporting childhood cancer research and fellowships. Since 2000, St. Baldrick’s has raised $20 million through head-shaving events.

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File of Life provides emergency information

Senior citizens in Colorado Springs can now post their medical information for emergency medial technicians to access.

When the patient is unable to provide the information that emergency personnel need, a File of Life can mean the difference between life and death.

A partnership between home care agency Right at Home Senior Care and ambulance service American Medical Response is providing the File of Life free to seniors.

The File of Life is kept in a convenient location, such as on the patient’s refrigerator, in a bright red pocket. The file is large enough to allow information updates and includes medical contacts, insurance numbers, health history, medications, allergies and emergency contacts.

Colorado Springs residents can pick up a free file at the Right at Home office at 1902 E. Boulder St., the Pikes Peak Agency on Aging at 15 S. 17th St., the Fountain Valley Senior Center at 5745 Southmoor Drive or at the Colorado Springs Senior Center at 1514 N. Hancock Ave.

Colorado’s immunization rates reach 10-year record

Colorado’s rate for immunizing the state’s children, from birth to age 35 months, increased to 83.4 percent in 2005, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In ranking all 50 states, Colorado moved from 44th place in 2004 to 16th place in the percentage of immunized children.

In 2004, the state set a goal of immunizing at least 80 percent of its children by the year 2010.

“When the 2004 child immunization rates were announced, it was clear that we weren’t doing a good enough job of protecting our children,” said Gov. Bill Owens. “Over the past year, we’ve focused our efforts on not just meeting, but exceeding, the goal of 80 percent. This isn’t about a state ranking; it’s about making sure Colorado’s kids receive the medical care they deserve.

Until this year, the survey measured the number of children who received immunizations for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis or whooping cough, haemophilus influezae type b, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella and polio. In this year’s survey, a vaccination for chicken pox was added.

With the addition, Colorado’s immunization rate for 2005 was 78.6 percent, compared to the national rate of 76.1 percent. The 2005 survey also compared, for the first time, the results for 27 urban areas, including Denver and Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.