Top Republicans on Senate health and f?oreign r?elations committees hear from local experts on the Ebola threat and Tennessee preparedness?
Posted on October 31, 2014
CHATTANOOGA, Oct. 31– U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate committee overseeing health policy, and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today held a fact-finding roundtable with local health officials and medical experts to discuss Tennessee’s preparedness for Ebola and highlight the work being done in Hamilton County that is critical to our country’s Ebola response and overall preparedness.
Today’s event is the third fact-finding roundtable Alexander has hosted in Tennessee, following similar roundtables in Memphis and Nashville.
“If Ebola were to reach Tennessee, we need to know that our local health care workers on the front lines are ready to treat this deadly disease. Health care workers here in Tennessee and across the nation need to have every bit of knowledge available and every protective measure known in the face of Ebola, and we also need to be sure we are doing everything we can to ensure you have the tools to treat a patient with Ebola,” said Alexander, who earlier this week announced legislation to spur the development of Ebola treatments.
“While the focus of our nation’s efforts to stop Ebola remain in West Africa, Tennesseans expect federal, state and local officials to take reasonable and coordinated precautions to keep them safe from the deadly virus. We need to make sure our hospitals are prepared to address a potential case where a patient may show symptoms associated with Ebola, and I am glad our hospital administrators, public health officials and local leaders in Tennessee are working together to make that happen,” said Corker.At the roundtable, the senators asked the Hamilton County Health Department what it is doing to prepare for a potential case of Ebola in the Chattanooga area, including how it would track potential contacts of any person sick with Ebola. They also asked local hospitals about their preparedness efforts, including any practice runs, efforts to heighten awareness among doctors and nurses in their hospitals, and challenges with recognizing a potential case as flu season begins.
Roundtable participants included Becky Barnes, Hamilton County Health Department administrator; James M. Hobson, CHI Memorial Hospital CEO; Dr. Mark Anderson, CHI Memorial Hospital infectious disease expert; Ricky Napper, president of CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga; Mr. Kevin M. Spiegel, president and CEO of Erlanger Health System; Dr. Jay Sizemore, Infectious Disease Group, Erlanger Health System; and Dr. Jeffrey Guy, chief medical officer at HCA Healthcare.
The roundtable was also attended by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, State Rep. Mike Carter, State Sen. Bo Watson, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.
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