Denver Health Hospital Authority (DHHA) is an acute-care hospital with 555-licensed beds, a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, a Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center, a Regional Emergent Special Pathogens Treatment Center (RESPTC), a Regional Disaster Health Response System (RDHRS), and it also houses the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders, adult and pediatric inpatient psychiatric services, and a Correctional Care Medical Facility. DHHA is also a LGBTQ+ center of excellence and houses a Center for Addiction Medicine (CAM). The Authority has 19 Federal Qualified Health Centers, 12 school-based health clinics, and houses the Rocky Mountain Position and Drug Safety. The Denver Health Paramedic Division is based at the institution along with the Denver 911 system. DHHA also offers an affordable and comprehensive Medical Plan and the Denver Health Foundation. Lastly, the Public Health Institute at Denver Health operates public health clinics and the Denver Prevention Training Center.
DHHA established the biocontainment unit (BCU) in early fall 2015 and in November 2015, was designated as the Health and Human Services (HHS) Region VIII RESPTC. Nurse and physician leaders established a multi-disciplinary team, called the High-Risk Infection Team (HITeam), composed of nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, infection prevention specialists, paramedics, support services, and administrators. Since its inception, the HITeam has engaged in every 6-weeks multidisciplinary training to maintain readiness for special pathogen patient care. The biocontainment unit is composed of two critical care beds and a high-risk pathogen laboratory. Additional airborne isolation rooms (70) are located throughout the hospital, including 12 in the medical intensive care unit (MICU).
Our HITeam members participate in every 6-week mandatory donning and doffing training sessions as well as quarterly team drills that involve practicing team dynamics, standard operation procedures, and dexterity while wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Team members participate in regular hospital and/or BCU-focused exercises to simulate and practice real-world experiences. They also participate in Special Pathogen didactic series, which is a collaborative, multidisciplinary didactic series on specific biocontainment topics showcasing the unique expertise of our team members. HITeam members also participate in quarterly team building meetings. Some of our team members are also involved in the training of community partners, partner institutions and healthcare professionals in a variety of healthcare settings across our region.
DHHA’s BCU is strategically located within a short driving distance (between 30 and 70 minutes depending of airport) of the third busiest airport in the world (Denver International Airport) and 2 smaller local airports (Centennial Airport and Colorado Springs Airport), as well as Buckley Airforce Base (AFB), Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB, USAF Academy, and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
DHHA is committed to aligning and upholding standards and guidance for RESTPCs by participating in regular readiness assessments with the National Emergent special pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC), conducting readiness assessments in Region VIII and continue collaboration and coordination via strategy sessions with NETEC and the RESPTC network. We feel strongly we have met and will continue to meet RESPTC requirements and pledge to continue to work towards providing excellent care for the special pathogen patient both by bettering ourselves and by collaborating to develop and further the expertise of other institutions in HHS Region VIII.