On Thursday, October 16, the Joint Committee on Public Health held its first oversight hearing to begin the process of informing our members as to the nature of the Ebola virus. Our purpose was to obtain a better understanding of how our state is mobilizing its emergency response system to safely and effectively address a case of Ebola infection should one happen here in Massachusetts.
On behalf of the committee, I want to thank those who provided testimony: the two experts from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital; the officials from the Department of Public Health, The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and Massport, the Mayor of Braintree; and the representatives from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, UMass Memorial Hospital and Boston Medical Center. All who participated raised important questions about the current level of specialized training and availability of personal protective equipment for clinicians and first responders. Each of the participants offered informative testimony that underscored the need to fully prepare all of our frontline critical care and first response personnel to act safely and with full confidence in the event of an Ebola infection case.
We continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation. Next week, the Committee has scheduled a follow-up hearing to learn from representatives from health care providers, clinicians, first responders and local health officials. It is our hope that the information we gather today will permit the members of the committee to have an informed discussion next week, where we can converse with the different parts of the health system and understand how they fit together; assess what their level of response readiness is and identify what manner of additional training and resources are required to adapt current emergency response protocols to the challenges posed by Ebola.
That hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, October 23 at 12:00P.M. in Room A-2.
Representative Jeffrey Sánchez