Treating Ebola Patients in the United States: Health Care Delivery Implications [November 4, 2014] [open pdf - 51KB]
"On September 30, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. This patient was the first in the United States to be treated for Ebola outside of a specialty hospital with a biocontainment unit. Shortly after this diagnosis, CDC Director Thomas Frieden expressed his confidence in the U.S. health care system, stating that we will 'stop Ebola in its tracks.' Despite the assurances, two nurses who cared for the patient were diagnosed with and have since recovered from Ebola. […] While the U.S. health care system has the resources to effectively identify and treat Ebola cases, a situation that is novel, emergent, and resource-intensive may test the system's ability to effectively mobilize those resources. The care of the initial U.S. patient highlighted several system delivery issues, including (1) inefficient use of finite healthcare resources due, at least in part, to gaps in preparation; (2) challenges in coordination between local, state, and federal public health systems and the health care delivery system, including in basic infection control procedures; and (3) care coordination issues. This Insight focuses only on the first issue. All components of the health care system are actively responding to these issues by identifying, learning from, and disseminating lessons learned. The adaptability of the system may be tested in the coming months, as experts predict that additional Ebola cases are possible as long as the outbreak persists in West Africa."
CRS Insight, IN10173