By Steve Ahnen, 
NHHA President:

We have all watched with great intent the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa and around the world, including here in the US, especially now that two health care workers who cared for a patient who died from the Ebola virus at a Texas hospital have also been infected with the virus.  This is a significant challenge that has many implications for local, state and national preparedness efforts, but it is a powerful reminder of how important the work that you and your hospital staff have been doing over the past several years as part of the "all hazards" preparedness work that began in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. 

 This is also an important reminder of the work that hospitals do in partnership and collaboration with our state and federal partners, as well as first responders and others in the community, in preparing for and dealing with potential public health emergencies, disasters and potential terrorist attacks.  Your staffs are on the front lines of caring for these patients and helping to not only detect potential cases of the Ebola virus, but to also care for those patients and protect the health and safety of those caring for them as well as the community at large.  

 We are working closely with your emergency preparedness staff to ensure they have the latest information from state and federal health officials about the disease, protocols for caring for patients suspected of the disease and additional training around the protocols, use of personal protective equipment and more.  Calls like those this week with all of you and your PR staff will continue as we work through these challenges.

 As information about the disease and situation continues to move at lightning speed, it will be essential that our messaging remains consistent and reflects the most up-to-date information and guidance from state and federal officials.  We will continue to share updated information, talking points and links to resources for your use.

 There's no question that this is a rapidly changing situation, but the constant in all of this is the leadership and commitment that you and your staff demonstrate to your patients and communities every day to care for anyone in need. 

 The NHHA also wishes to acknowledge the leadership and the medical professionals at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for agreeing to serve as the referral hospital in New Hampshire for those who are diagnosed with the Ebola virus and who require on-going care.

Important links for Ebola preparedness include the following:

NH Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control

American Hospital Association