Health Officials Visit UCSF to Review Preparedness to Treat Ebola Patients

James P. Watt, MD, MPH, chief of the California Department of Public Health's Division of Communicable Disease Control, confers with Amy Nichols, RN, MBA, clinical nurse researcher at UCSF Medical Center, left, and Adrienne Green, MD, associate chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center. Photo by Susan Merrell

Federal, state and local health officials visited UC San Francisco on Wednesday to review and provide consultation on the medical center’s preparedness in the event it receives a patient infected with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

To date, no patients infected with EVD have been reported at UCSF, San Francisco or California.

The visit by an Ebola preparedness team including infection control, occupational health and laboratory safety experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is part of a national tour of hospitals designated to treat patients with Ebola. Representatives from the California Department of Public Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health and San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center also joined the tour at UCSF.

Timothy Brey, a fire life safety inspector with Environmental Health & Safety, trains UCSF Medical Center personnel on how to properly put on and remove personal protective equipment (PPE). Photo by Susan Merrell

The contingent visited the Emergency Department on the Parnassus campus and toured the Ebola isolation unit at Mount Zion hospital. They discussed staffing, training in the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and laboratory and waste management procedures. At the closing session, officials gave overall good reviews of UCSF’s preparedness and readiness.

“We appreciate the feedback that we received from our colleagues and will continue to conduct training and refine our procedures to ensure the utmost safety of our health care staff, patients and the community,” said Adrienne Green, MD, associate chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center. “We are committed to working with local, state and federal health agencies to make sure we are fully prepared to treat a patient with Ebola while following the best practices and safety guidelines.”

UCSF is equipped to treat two patients at the specially designed and equipped isolation unit at Mount Zion hospital.

Among ongoing developments in UCSF’s response to Ebola:

  • About 10 UCSF clinicians and affiliates are working in West Africa, including Phuoc Le, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics, who is training health workers in Liberia;
  • More than 1,400 hours of vacation have been donated by faculty and staff to assist volunteers who are fighting the Ebola outbreak;
  • More than 110 health care professionals have volunteered to treat a patient infect with Ebola at UCSF; and
  • About $150,000 has been raised through the crowd funding website and the UCSF nursing community has raised another $36,000 to support nonprofit health organizations working to curb the epidemic.

At the UC Board of Regents meeting at UCSF Mission Bay on Thursday, Jack Stobo, MD, senior vice president for health sciences and services at the UC Office of the President, reported that all five UC medical centers are “very well prepared” to treat a patient with EVD and to protect health care workers and other patients.

The two issues that are still being worked out, Stobo said, are inconsistent recommendations about PPE and tracking health care workers returning from countries confronting the Ebola outbreak.

At UCSF, campus and medical center policies for volunteers returning to work and monitoring after serving in West Africa are being reviewed and modified for consistency.

SFDPH officials are responsible for monitoring health care workers who are returning from West Africa. Using CDC guidelines, they are making their decisions for monitoring based on the exposure risk of the person who is returning. 

UCSF employees who served in West Africa are subject to restrictions when returning to UCSF campuses or affiliated sites depending on their level of risk, as defined by the CDC. For the latest policies, check http://www.ucsf.edu/ebola.

For more internal-facing stories from the UCSF community, please visit Pulse of UCSF.