Protecting Your Employees in Public Health Emergencies: CLOSED Dispensing Site Workbook for Businesses

State: MO Type: Model Practice Year: 2006

Protecting Your Employees in Public Health Emergencies: CLOSED Dispensing Site Workbook for Businesses targets large employers/private industry. This practice addresses the recruitment of large businesses to act as CLOSED Dispensing Sites to assist Public Health in providing emergency medications to the entire population under Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) goal of 48-hours. The goal of this practice is provide consistent and accurate information to businesses interested in becoming a CLOSED Dispensing Site. Before this program, Public Health Planners did not have any 'leave-behind' or reference material to provide to businesses in the recruitment process. Information was scarce at best and changed from meeting to meeting. The Workbook provides a professional representation of Public Health to entice the private industry to develop and maintain a collaborative relationship. This practice intends to accomplish the following: Provide 16 Health Departments across 2 states with a uniform tool in recruiting CLOSED Dispensing Sites.  Portray Public Health in a professional manner.  Provide an opportunity for Public Health and the private industry to develop and maintain collaborative relationships. The development of an alternative dispensing method for Public Health to utilize in meeting CRI goals and objectives.
This practice addresses the need for Public Health to develop alternative dispensing methods in order to meet CRI goals and objectives. The Workbook allows Public Health to develop and maintain collaborative relationships with the private industry to assist in providing emergency medications within 48-hours of an intentional release of anthrax. No formal process was utilized in determining the need for this program/practice. It became quickly relevant that the limited capabilities of the Public Health infrastructure could not meet the objectives of the CRI Program alone. Working with businesses to have them provide emergency medications to their employees and families is seen as an incredible benefit for all parties involved. Public Health can rely on businesses to provide these medications during an emergency to a portion of the population that will not have to attend a Public Point of Dispensing Site. The business can 'recover' its employees in the least amount of time and possibly loss little or no revenue. Employees will feel protected by their place of employment and may repay that security with increased loyalty and retention. Utilizing research collected in the development of the CRI Alternative Dispensing Guide: A Collection of Model Practices and Pilot Projects, it was determined that this type of program was desired by Public Health, however no jurisdiction had formalized the process. This practice is innovative by the very fact that no other jurisdiction of comparable size has developed a uniform tool for educating the private industry about the CRI Program how they can assist Public Health. This practice provides health departments with the necessary resources to easily reach-out to businesses and earn their cooperation in becoming a CLOSED Dispensing Site. Current approaches to addressing this Public Health issue have been scattered and unorganized at best. Planners have either spoken with businesses informally and/or created low-key materials for presentation. The practice being utilized today in the Kansas City Region offers planners within easy-to-use, professional quality information tailored to addressing the concerns of the target audience - businesses.
Agency Community RolesThis practice was the result of a regional initiative/collaboration involving 16 different Health Departments across the states of Missouri and Kansas. Each department provided essential input needed to create a uniform message. Each of these Health Departments not only serve as technical advisors to this program, but as invested stakeholders. Each jurisdiction has a vested interest in achieving the goals of the CRI Program, and this practice assists that desire. Every Health Department within the region can now use these Workbooks to recruit interested CLOSED Dispensing Sites. The necessary information to educate these potential partners is now 'ready-made' and available for immediate use. Being a stakeholder and an active participant in this practice allows the Health Department to 'shine' in the eyes of its community partners. This program clearly states the desire of Public Health to find alternative methods of dispensing emergency medications in the quickest amount of time possible to reduce loss of life.  Costs and ExpendituresFunding sources for this practice include: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cities Readiness Initiative Funding as well as Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The implementation, start-up, and in-kind costs totaled: $5,912.00.  ImplementationTo implement this practice, many steps were taken to reach this point; however, further steps are also planned to enhance its use: Step 1: The idea of creating a uniform product to actively recruit large businesses to act as CLOSED Dispensing Sites was put forth to Health Department Directors and Planners of 16 jurisdictions spanning 2 states in October of 2006.  Step 2: Each jurisdiction was provided with a "rough draft" copy of the proposed Workbook. Each jurisdiction was then given a short deadline to submit any corrections or suggestions for improvement.  Step 3: Each of the submitted input was analyzed and adjusted to create a uniform message that each and every jurisdiction could use and agree upon.  Step 4: A second "draft" was submitted for review by each jurisdiction. Little or no corrections were made and the region was satisfied with the uniform content.  Step 5: Graphic design was then implemented and additional edits were made to ensure that the style of the product matched the content.  Step 6: Each jurisdiction gave final approval of the finished product with extreme ease.  Step 7: 5000 Workbooks were developed, and to date, 2000 have been distributed to each of the 16 Health Departments.  Step 8: Health Departments begin active recruitment of CLOSED Dispensing Sites using the Workbooks in a variety of outreach methods. Future Steps include: The development of a training curriculum for businesses that utilizes the Workbook as a 'textbook." (To be completed by August 2007)  Holding informational meetings with interested parties. (No established timeframe - active throughout)  Participate in and develop exercises with CLOSED Dispensing Sites to refine their capabilities. (No established timeframe - active throughout)
Objective 1: Contact major employers within the region to establish a relationship of support in becoming a CLOSED Dispensing Site.  Performance Measures: Contact with major employers will be conducted through an already established Public Health Pandemic Influenza Outreach Program. To date, over a dozen potential CLOSED Sites have been contacted and performance will continue to be evaluated by the number of meetings accomplished to indicate level of interest.  Feedback: Initial meetings will take place between a Public Health representative (Emergency Planner) and the business. As the relationship continues, the Emergency Planner will serve as Point of Contact. Outcome: The true and final outcome of this program is still pending. However, results thus far have indicated planned and desired outcomes. Relationships with businesses are being formed and Public Health in this region is promoting the CLOSED Dispensing Site ideal. Objective 2: Provide a tool to major employers to assist them in their understanding and operation of a CLOSED DIspensing Site. Performance Measures: This objective has been completed and therefore has achieved its performance. The Workbook development was coordinated through 16 Health Departments in less than 3 meetings.  Feedback: Feedback regarding the Workbooks thus far has been all positive. Businesses find the tool very informative and beneficial to starting a relationship with Public Health and a CLOSED Dispensing Site Program. Outcome: These Workbooks are designed to be a long-term reference for businesses as the relationship increases. Objective 3: Reduce the number of population to be served at Public/OPEN Dispensing Sites, through CLOSED Sites. Performance Measures: A given number of meetings will be conducted with each business to determine their employee + family count. Once determined, Public Health will then be able to plan accordingly to receive less numbers at Public Sites. Feedback: The Public Health Emergency Planner within each Health Department will be responsible for collecting and maintaining the data received from businesses. From a Public Health perspective, this program is of great benefit as it delegates responsibility to qualified participants in order to maximize response capability. Outcome: The purpose of the CLOSED Dispensing Site Program is to relieve some of the pressure expected at Public Sites during a Public Health Emergency. This outcome is planned and will serve to increase the response infrastructure of Public Health. Less individuals will report to Public Sites as more and more CLOSED Sites come 'online.'
Currently, this practice's sustainability is ensured with continued funding for the Cities Readiness Initiative Program. Future steps to maintain and enhance this practice will rely on that funding source. However, it can be said that this program is somewhat self-sustaining. As long as Public Health is willing to recruit businesses as CLOSED Dispensing Sites, this material will remain. The only additional costs would be to reproduce the workbooks for future use. However, within the Kansas City Region, less than 2,000 businesses were identified to be potential CLOSED Dispensing Sites. To date, 5,000 workbooks were ordered leaving a suffecient quantity for sustainability. Furthermore, a specialized website has been designed to allow businesses to download the necessary information at no cost ( Each stakeholder within the project is fully committed to its sustainment. Public Health within the Kansas City Region has recognized the great benefit of working with businesses to reach CRI goals. As long as that benefit exists, so will this program and its demand.