Four hospitals named to treat any Minnesota Ebola patients

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Any confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in Minnesota would be treated at one of four hospitals, under a strategy announced Friday by the state's health department and hospitals association.

The new strategy was revealed in a statement from the Minnesota Hospital Association, which collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Health.

The plan calls for providing specialty care for any Ebola patient at:

  • University of Minnesota Medical Center, West Bank Campus, Minneapolis
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester, Saint Marys Campus
  • Allina Health’s Unity Hospital in Fridley
  • Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota - St. Paul campus

All of the state's hospitals are getting trained in how to handle a patient who arrives with warning signs of Ebola and that will continue, the Association says.

But if testing confirms a case of the virus, the patient will be transferred to one of the four treatment centers.

As the Star Tribune puts it, the strategy is meant to maximize the odds of an Ebola patient's recovery, while minimizing the odds of a health care worker being infected with the virus. The newspaper reports a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will visit the four hospitals soon to assess their Ebola readiness.

The Hospital Association says the plan is also meant to ensure that the state's Level I Trauma Centers can continue to serve the region's ongoing needs.

MPR News says some of the Twin Cities largest hospitals – Hennepin County Medical Center, Regions Hospital, and North Memorial Medical Center – are not among those that will treat Ebola, freeing them to provide other care.

MPR also notes the announcement leaves questions about covering the cost of Ebola preparedness unanswered. While 10 hospital systems came together to coordinate the plan and have agreed to share staffing, no pool of money to pay for preparations has been set aside.

The Association says Minnesota hospitals have been preparing for the possibility of an Ebola case for weeks with training and drills on delivering care safely.

They say they've adjusted the training to updated CDC protocols following the infection of two nurses at a Dallas hospital and add that the plan will evolve as necessary.

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