Five University of California medical centers, including one at University of California at San Francisco, are now considered priority hospitals to treat confirmed Ebola cases in California, the UC Office of the President announced Friday.
While there are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola in California, the UC Office of the President has reported to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that all five UC medical centers are now ready, if needed, to provide in-patient care for Californians who may contract Ebola.
"All of the UC Medical Centers specialize in complex care and operate as or staff level one trauma centers," CDPH director Dr. Ron Chapman said in a statement.
The California Nurses Association (CNA) and National Nurses United (NNU), which represents about 12,000 registered nurses in the major UC medical centers, however, said in a statement released Friday that the UC and California Hospital Association officials are "giving the public a false picture about Ebola readiness in the UC hospitals."
CNA/NNU executive director Rosa Ann DeMoro said that based on what the UC nurses reported as recently as Friday, the nurses "are unprepared, unprotected and very concerned."
DeMoro said that over the last two months CNA/NNU has informed the UC officials about standards that nurses say they require to be protected in the event that they need to treat an Ebola patient.
All hospitals in California are expected to screen, identify, and isolate any patients with Ebola risk and other hospitals will likely be identified as additional priority hospitals for Ebola treatment.
The UC Medical Centers are required to meet standards set by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) guaranteeing that the appropriate equipment, training, and other measures are in place to protect worker health and safety while caring for Ebola patients.
The CDPH has also committed to backing the five medical centers by helping to provide them with the right protective equipment, should the hospitals run low on supplies.
State officials will work with these medical centers to ensure that potential medical waste generated from the treatment of an Ebola patient will be properly handled and disposed.
"Stepping up to a public health crisis is what these medical centers do, and in the past weeks we have been actively readying ourselves for any health eventuality related to Ebola," Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services said in a statement.
For more information about how the state is preparing for potential cases of Ebola, visit www.cdph.ca.gov.