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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Improving capacity for mass dispensing in Los Angeles County

Deborah Davenport, RN, MS, Stephanie Faren, RN, MSN, MPH, Noel Bazini-Barakat, MSN, MPH, Bridget A. Ward, MS, RN, Dee Ann Bagwell, MA, MPH, Joanne Hobbs, PHN, Renee Cambaliza, PHN, Marcia J. Liem-McFadden, RN, BSN, Adam Morrow, MPH, Phillip Moore, MPA, and Sharon F. Grigsby, MBA. Public Health, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, 5300 Tujunga Street, North Hollywood, CA 91601, 818-487-0028, ddavenport@ladhs.org

One of the many challenges facing large metropolitan health departments is the mass distribution of medication or vaccine in a public health emergency. This endeavor becomes more complex when planning for a response to a bioterrorism event where the window of opportunity may be as little as 48 hours. A CDC Bioterrorism Preparedness grant required that Los Angeles County have such a plan to administer antibiotics following an anthrax attack to the County's 10 million residents spread out over more than 4,000 square miles via a network of community distribution sites known as Points of Dispensing (PODs). Experience with mass vaccination clinics, guidance from the CDC, and the Weill-Cornell model provided preliminary input on POD operations, layout, flow, staffing, training, and documentation requirements. Subsequent adjustments were made from insight offered by other jurisdictions that were tested in POD drills in 2004 and 2005. Lessons learned from each exercise formed the basis for further improvements that were tested at a full scale POD exercise held in February of 2006. These adjustments lead to client throughput of over 1,500 per hour. This paper will describe some of the features that improved client throughput such as focusing on rapid dispensing, simplifying the process, streamlining documentation, efficiently laying out stations, using low literacy and multilingual signage, and moving non-critical services. The session will also discuss the department's continuing improvements to further increase client throughput that will be tested in future exercises.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

Keywords: Bioterrorism, Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Planning for Epidemics and Preparing for Acts of Bioterrorism

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA