On October, 21, 2014, Governor Rick Perry was in Dallas to announce the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas. Creation of such facilities was among the first recommendations made by the governor’s recently named Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response in order to better protect health care workers and the public from the spread of pandemic diseases.
In addition to the North Texas facility, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has also been designated an Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility.
“In the event of another diagnosis this facility will allow us to act quickly to limit the virus’ reach and give patients the care they need in an environment where health care workers are specially trained and equipped to deal with the unique requirements of this disease,” said Gov. Perry. “We are fortunate to have such talented and dedicated leaders here in North Texas, and at UTMB Galveston, who are willing to step forward during a time of need.”
Three of the region’s leading health care providers, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Methodist Hospital System and Parkland Hospital System, will partner to set up and operate the North Texas facility. The facility and equipment are being provided by partner hospitals, and staffing will be moved to the facility on an as-needed basis if the unit is activated.
- UT Southwestern Medical Center is contributing the expertise of physicians experienced in infectious disease, critical care and other specialties, and some nursing professionals as staffing requires.
- Methodist Health System is allowing the use of an entire floor of the Methodist Campus for Continuing Care in Richardson, including an ICU wing well suited for the care of infectious disease patients. They will provide some modifications for the critical steps of decontamination, laboratory equipment and other dedicated personnel for IT and biomedical support. Ebola and/or other infectious disease patients can be safely isolated
- Parkland Hospital has already begun transferring critical equipment such as personal protective equipment, IV fluids and laboratory supplies to the Methodist facility. In addition, Parkland will provide nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and lab technicians.
“UT Southwestern is proud that its expert faculty physicians and nurses are ready to lead in providing the very best care possible while safeguarding the safety of staff and the public. UTSW is also committed to advancing the other important longer term goals identified by the Governor’s Task Force,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President, UT Southwestern Medical Center Building on the foundations that have made it an academic medical center that is respected worldwide, UTSW is committed to the education and training of caregivers broadly and to promote research which will improve disease treatment and prevention. There is no mission greater than serving the public good.”
“Methodist Health System answered the call because it is the right thing to do,” said Stephen L. Mansfield, PhD, FACHE, president and CEO, Methodist Health System. “Like all North Texans, we wish we weren’t in this situation. But the reality is there remains a threat, and as long as it’s there, Methodist is obligated by our mission – to improve and save lives through compassionate, quality health care – to do all we can to help.”
“Parkland is proud to be a part of this team effort to protect Texans from infectious disease. Our health system has a long history of emergency preparedness and clinical innovation so we are a great fit for this strike force,” said Frederick P. Cerise, MD, MPH, president and CEO, Parkland Health System. “Every Parkland employee comes to work knowing we may face the most difficult of situations and I am confident that we possess the skills and expertise to deal with them. Parkland also appreciates the leadership of Governor Perry as well as state and local officials in putting this team together.”
“UTMB is prepared to help fight Ebola and other infectious diseases,” said Dr. David L. Callender, UTMB president. “I have every confidence in our abilities to provide the highest level of care and we are proud that the governor has placed this trust in us as well as UT Southwestern, Methodist and Parkland.”