The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), recently deployed a National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) team to the University of New Mexico (UNM) Children’s Hospital – providing support to an overwhelmed emergency department.
With the UNM Children’s Hospital at over 100 percent capacity, ASPR worked with the New Mexico Department of Health to evaluate and grant its request for federal medical assistance. The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to supporting states as they face a confluence of respiratory illnesses this winter and has already taken a series of actions to help states address the increased strain on hospitals and heightened demand for medications that treat seasonal illnesses.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra sent a letter to governors on December 2 outlining supports and resources available to them from HHS, including federal medical personnel such as from the National Disaster Medical System, and the agency increased access to Tamiflu through the Strategic National Stockpile.
NDMS provides high-quality rapid response medical care when public health and medical emergencies overwhelm state, local, tribal, or territorial resources. The 14-person NDMS team will directly help UNM Hospital’s staffing challenges, allowing existing staff some much needed relief and filling gaps in pediatric patient care.
“The arrival of the NDMS team couldn’t come at a better time,” says Anna Duran, M.D, associate chief medical officer of the UNM Children’s Hospital. “Our staff have been working very hard to provide the highest level of care to the sickest children in our state. But our staff are tired, many of them missed the holidays with their families, and they desperately need this help.”