ACEP Releases Emergency Department Guidance to Manage COVID-19 Outbreaks

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Emergency physician-led care teams are on the front lines of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response, treatment and prevention. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has developed the National Strategic Plan for Emergency Department Management of Outbreaks of COVID-19 to inform health care personnel, public health, and government officials at all levels of the necessary capabilities for emergency departments to successfully manage an outbreak.

“As care teams work to protect patients in each of our communities, it is critical that hospitals define roles and determine the level of resources they need to be successful,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Our health care system is likely to be strained as we seek to mitigate the impact of the virus, which is why careful planning and preparation is vital.”

The five-pillar plan for emergency departments is adapted from the federal template for biological threat management and includes:

  1. Situational awareness;
  2. Protection of the emergency department infrastructure and personnel;
  3. Prevention of disruptions in service delivery;
  4. Organized, timely surge medical response; and,
  5. Recovery to the previous steady state.

The plan also has a checklist for facilities and a personal preparation checklist for individual emergency physicians.

“As anticipation grows for more community transmission of COVID-19, we have to ensure our health care system is coordinated and has the capabilities necessary to respond rapidly and effectively,” said Dr. Jaquis.

ACEP is also virtually convening emergency medicine experts today to discuss the latest clinical information, policy priorities, and how facilities and emergency physicians can prepare for the emerging outbreak.

Visit www.acep.org/COVID19 for the full plan and checklists, policy recommendations and the latest clinical guidance for emergency care teams. ACEP is keeping patients informed on how to stay safe at www.emergencyphysicians.org/COVID19.  

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org.

Contact: Maggie McGillick | mmcgillick@acep.org | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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