California Looks to Mobile Hospitals for Emergencies
The California Emergency Medical Services Authority on Tuesday is expected to announce a deal to purchase three mobile field hospitals for $18 million that are intended to help manage casualties from a major natural disaster or terrorist attack, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The state agency is purchasing the 200-bed portable facilities from BLU-MED Response Systems, based in Washington state.
The units are part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) efforts to better prepare and equip the state to handle a natural disaster or weapons of mass destruction attack. The facilities will be deployed only when existing hospital emergency capabilities are greatly reduced or overwhelmed by casualties in a disaster or attack.
The state aims to have the hospitals on site and operating 72 hours after they have been activated, according to a 2006 EMSA report. The report added that the facilities can be built to provide 200, 400 or 600 patient beds, based on the extent of the disaster.
The three hospitals will be stored in state warehouses in Southern California, the Bay Area and the Sacramento region. Each hospital includes:
- An emergency department;
- An operating room;
- An intensive care unit;
- A nursing care unit; and
- Radiology, laboratory, pharmaceutical and food services.
Cesar Aristeiguieta, director of EMSA, said the agency wants the hospitals delivered and assembled by June 30 (McIntosh, Sacramento Bee, 4/24). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.