AHLA Releases New Community Pan-Flu Preparedness Guidebook
The comprehensive Checklist addresses issues and presents solutions to the legal impediments and implementation challenges of pandemic planning. It focuses on the increasing threat posed by the influenza virus, including the rapidly mutating and highly lethal H5N1 avian influenza that has the potential to claim over 180 million lives in a global pandemic.
According to AHLA President Elisabeth Belmont, the guidebook is a "scalable tool designed to assist providers along the continuum of care in taking concrete steps to prepare for an influenza pandemic." The Checklist provides concrete steps for healthcare providers to coordinate preparedness planning with local, state and federal authorities.
The publication will be widely distributed to medical centers; medical and bar associations; and public health agencies for national implementation and use. AHLA will also work with healthcare organizations to more widely disseminate this information into their communities.
"This publication can be reproduced and co-branded by healthcare providers for the benefit of and to promote the health of the community served by the distributing organization. As such, the distribution of this Checklist and more importantly the teaching of the lessons contained therein can and should be used by healthcare providers as a demonstrable form of community benefit," Belmont said.
Community Pan-Flu Preparedness is part of AHLA's Public Information Series and fulfills the Association's public interest commitment to serve as a public resource on selected healthcare legal issues. It is the product of AHLA's May 2, 2008 Public Interest Dialogue Session that brought together a select but diverse panel of legal experts, healthcare providers, government leaders and healthcare and emergency management scholars. The session was co-sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
AHLA expects these efforts to provide clarity and help save lives in any future pandemics. Belmont said, "The healthcare sector's increased ability to navigate difficult times ultimately will serve patients when they are most vulnerable during a crisis."
The Checklist will be available for download on July 1, 2008 at http://www.healthlawyers.org/panfluchecklist.
American Health Lawyers Association
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