The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) seeks to develop its baseline capacity in the six domains identified in the NOFO to assure rapid implementation of the state’s response programs. PADOH’s efforts will focus on the outlined priorities in the grant award to strengthen: community resilience, incident management for early crisis response, biosurveillance, information management, countermeasures and mitigation, and surge management.
In order to strengthen incident management for early crisis response, PADOH’s Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response (BEPR) will facilitate the earliest possible activation of its Department Operations Center (DOC). Once the incident management structure (IMS) is implemented, PADOH will commence its coordination and support of response activities with healthcare and other partners.
To strengthen community resilience, PADOH maintains relationships with public and private community partners to characterize and address the needs of at-risk populations related to public health emergencies. PADOH will continue to work to improve and advance health equity for all communities. Response efforts will be coordinated with treatment hospitals and local health departments to effectively address the emerging needs of the public health emergency.
Biosurveillance will be strengthened by adding new diseases and modules to PA National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (PA-NEDSS). New systems will be explored by reconfiguring the syndromic surveillance system to track individuals who may have been exposed to the emerging concern. REDCap may be used to perform rapid needs assessments during the occurring public health emergency.
To strengthen information management, PADOH plans to develop, coordinate, and disseminate risk communication to its partners and the public, as well as facilitate the exchange of essential elements of information. The PADOH will utilize its Incident Command System (ICS) process to activate its Joint Information Center, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and other state agencies. Communications will be enhanced among PADOH’s Bureau of Laboratories (BOL) and Bureau of Epidemiology (BOE) to ensure the earliest possible identification and investigation of incidents.
To strengthen countermeasures and mitigation, PADOH plans replace the expired contents of its receive, stage and store (RSS) warehouses and approximately 300 points of dispensing (PODs) with new supplies; provide training to staff on RSS and POD procedures and use of CDC’s Inventory Management and Tracking System (IMATS); purchase and provide assistive technology (AT) kits to the six PADOH district offices; and implement the non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) for an emerging infectious disease.
To strengthen surge management, PADOH will collaborate with its internal and external partners, such as the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers (SERVPA) and the Public Health Management Corporation, to surge state, local, and healthcare system capacities. This will allow for a more robust laboratory response, broader surveillance, and effective EMS response.