U hospital to add Ebola resources

Ellen Schmidt

A federal grant will help equip the University of Minnesota Medical Center on West Bank with the necessary accommodations to treat up to four patients with highly infectious diseases like Ebola, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Friday.  
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded nine regional facilities a total of $29 million over the next five years to build up the nation’s infectious disease response. As one of those facilities, UMMC’s Riverside campus will receive a $3.25 million grant — $2.25 million in the first year and $250,000 each of the following four years.
 
“This approach recognizes that being ready to treat severe, highly infectious diseases, including Ebola, is vital to our nation’s health security,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, in a press release.
 
UMMC will be open to treat highly infectious disease patients from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
 
In October, the Minnesota Hospital Association announced UMMC was one of four Minnesota health care facilities ready to care for Ebola patients. Currently, the hospital can accommodate one Ebola patient, and it will add three more spots throughout the term of the grant.
 
The grant will allow the hospital to train staff within the containment unit and cover costs to modify the ventilation system so it can emit cleaner air, said Dr. Bobbi Daniels, University of Minnesota Physicians’ chief executive officer.