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Samaritan Initiates Biopreparedness Training Program

PeaceHealth’s Oregon employees will be the first to participate in a series of three-day biopreparedness trainings offered by Corvallis-based Samaritan Health Services beginning later this month.

As part of an agreement between Samaritan and PeaceHealth, Samaritan will train at least 60 PeaceHealth employees and first responders over the course of 2015, said Samaritan President/CEO Larry Mullins.

The comprehensive training will take place at Samaritan’s Health Careers and Training Center, located adjacent to Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. That hospital is Samaritan’s designated receiving center for patients suspected of having highly infectious diseases such as Ebola.

We are pleased to enter into this collaboration with PeaceHealth, which we believe will result in a workforce that is better prepared to address any number of biohazards that may occur in the future,” Mullins said. “We have invested the time and resources into developing a broad-based training curriculum and clinical instructors, and we hope to work with other health care providers and first responders who want to deepen their professional expertise in this important area."

John Hill, PeaceHealth Oregon’s Chief Executive Officer, said that the agreement represents “an exciting advancement in infectious disease training and regional readiness."

This is the kind of collaboration among health care systems that raises the bar on our collective ability to extend care to all who need us in the communities we serve,” Hill said.

Samaritan is among the six organizations identified by the Oregon Health Authority as Level 2 facilities capable of serving as receiving sites for Ebola patients. The agreement with PeaceHealth establishes Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital as the site of care for any patient who presents within the six counties served by SHS and PeaceHealth (Linn, Benton, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas and Coos) with symptoms of Ebola requiring quarantine or isolation, as those terms are defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the context of the Oregon Health Authority’s three-level readiness model for Oregon hospitals, this means that all of PeaceHealth’s Oregon hospitals are in Level 3.

Although the most recent attention has been given to Ebola, previous outbreaks of infectious disease such as the H1N1 flu have caused us to make sure our employees know what to do when we see these patients in our clinics or Emergency Departments,” Mullins said.

Mullins said Samaritan developed the training in conjunction with its infection disease physician specialists, emergency preparedness staff, health educators and other clinical specialists. Topics include: disease identification and transmission, treatment protocols and procedures, coordination with public health organizations, use of Personal Protective Equipment, and handling and disposal of infectious waste. Participants also participate in a half-day drill that provides a potential real-life scenario and allows individuals to practice what they have learned.

In addition to hospital employees, the training is also appropriate for first responders as well as public health workers,” Mullins said. “We all benefit from having more professionals who are knowledgeable and confident about their role in addressing biothreats of any kind."

Information about the training is available by calling 541-451-6430.