Georgia Health Officials Won’t Identify Ebola Hospitals

November 13, 2014

Georgia health officials say they won’t identify six hospitals that are preparing to install specialized Ebola treatment units.

The move has prompted some health care workers and state lawmakers to call for more transparency in the way state officials prepare for the possibility of additional patients being treated in Georgia.

Hospital administrators have asked for anonymity until their facilities are fully prepared to treat patients showing symptoms of the disease, Georgia Department of Public Health spokesman Ryan Deal told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Emory University Hospital is one of seven hospitals the state has designated as Ebola treatment centers. The hospital has already treated four people who either contracted the virus in West Africa, or while intensively caring for someone who did.

“There’s potential that unintended consequences could become a problem,” Deal said. “We don’t want to slow down the process.”

Vice President of National Nurses United, a nurse’s union, said she disagrees with the decision.

“I want to know if the nurses are being trained properly, if they are using the best equipment. I want to know the nurses are ready to go, that the hospitals will be protected and that the public will be protected,” she said.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, also said the state’s treatment preparation process needs to be more transparent.

Despite that, Georgia Public Health Commissioner, Brenda Fitzgerald, said the state is respecting the wishes of hospital leaders who would rather not be faced with inquiries from the media and citizens.

Director of Advocates for Responsible Care Dorothy Leone-Glasser said the hospitals’ names should be released to community health clinics, local patient advocates, hospital staff and others who may be directly impacted.

“There’s no community involvement in what’s happening with the hospitals, and that’s the problem,” she said.

However, state Rep. Debbie Buckner, D-Junction City, said identifying hospitals that are preparing to install the units could cause undue concern in areas near facilities that don’t receive final clearance from the state to treat Ebola patients.

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