MDH's Role During Pandemic FAQ
Answers to questions posed at the May, 2006 pandemic plan preview meetings.
Does the MDH plan include faith communities in the planning process? For example worship and funeral issues; clinical faith issues related to choices for patients and family; care at death and burial.
This is an important issue that needs additional attention at both the state and local levels. Both HSEM (Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management) and MDH have had an initial meeting with the Governor’s Faith and Community Services coordinator to explore common concerns and options.
Is there any formal written plans or concerns regarding Behavioral Health (mental health) in the plan? If not why not and can we expect anything to be written in?
While the pandemic influenza plan does not have a separate behavioral health component, there are many ongoing activities and plans that would come into play during a pandemic. Regional groups have been identified throughout the state to respond during an emergency. Training, materials, and exercises are needed in the future to expand on this area.
In rural Minnesota, what agency is considered to be the local public health authority, local public health, or county public health?
Minnesota statutes authorize the local board of health as the responsible authority for local public health. In some parts of the state, several counties have joined together under one board of health and in other parts of the state, it is one county. As a result, the public health authority varies.
What are the groups that are discussing ethical issues in the state? How is MDH working with these groups? How are these groups connecting with local, county and city government?
The Minnesota Center for Healthcare Ethics – a joint effort of Fairview Health services, HealthEast Care System, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and the College of St. Catherine hosted several meetings and discussions about the distribution of scarce supplies of vaccine as an initial activity. The Minnesota Department of Health is developing a request for proposals for additional ethical discussions that would involve providers and the public and develop a process that could be used across the state for additional pandemic influenza ethical issues.
Any discussion on looking at acceptable loses?
Our focus has been on managing the situation to reduce morbidity and mortality. The “Adjusting Standards of Care” group is discussing use of medical supplies/services during a shortage and is considering how to preserve the most lives possible. The ethical discussions that have been held in other parts of the world or country have highlighted some differences between the approach of providers who consider efficacy and the public who may place a higher value on fairness.
Does the authority for flu plan extend to cover tribes? If not, who do we talk to for specific questions related to tribes?
Each of the tribes in Minnesota has been included in funding for emergency preparedness from the Minnesota Department of Health since 2002. This spring, they were awarded an additional $5,000 from the CDC award for pandemic influenza to MDH. We anticipate they will be receiving additional funds through the next round of funding this fall. Each tribe has a tribal health director who has been involved in meetings and discussions. Contact the regional Public Health Preparedness Consultant if you have questions about tribes in your area.
Hospital Preparedness Program (BHPP): Regions and Teams (PDF: 1 page)
Names and contact information of Public Health Preparedness Consultants (PHPCs) and Regional Hospital Resource Centers (RHRCs).
How is MDH working with Indian Health Services in Bemidji to coordinate planning and response with Tribal Nations in Minnesota?
They have been involved in regional meetings and discussions.
Is DOER having conversations with labor unions regarding reallocation of staff, possible issues-hours of work; working out of class, training?
The Minnesota Department of Employee Relations (DOER) is leading a state agency review to identify priority services, answer human resources and labor union issues, and establish a plan for state services.