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New tool helps State and local officials identify alternate health care sites for use during a bioterrorism emergency

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently released a tool to help State and local officials quickly locate alternate health care sites if hospitals are overwhelmed by patients due to a bioterrorist attack or other public health emergency. The alternate care site selection tool was shared with emergency response planners at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

In the aftermath of a bioterrorist event or other public health emergency, hospitals may be overwhelmed by a sudden influx of patients. The new alternate care site selection tool is designed to allow regional planners to locate and rank potential alternative sites—such as stadiums, schools, recreation centers, motels, and other venues—based on whether they have adequate ventilation, plumbing, food supply, and kitchen facilities, for example.

The new tool, which is available as an Excel spreadsheet, was produced by Denver Health, one of AHRQ's Integrated Delivery System Research Network (IDSRN) partners. AHRQ's IDSRN program links the Nation's top researchers with some of the largest health care systems to conduct fast-track research on cutting-edge issues in health care.

The alternate care site selection tool is included in a new report, Rocky Mountain Regional Care Model for Bioterrorist Events. The new tool and report are two of over 50 studies, workshops, conferences, and other activities funded under the Agency's bioterrorism research portfolio. For additional information, go to Public Health Preparedness.

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