A new study conducted by Dr. Terri Rebmann and colleagues at the Institute for Biosecurity in the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice outlines best practices and recommendations related to maintaining and sustaining a local or regional stockpile. Stockpiles are developed to aid in managing patient surge that occurs after mass casualty incidents (MCI), especially those involving biological events, such as bioterrorism attacks, outbreaks of an emerging pathogen, or a pandemic. During MCIs, healthcare facilities are likely to experience supply and medication shortages due to minimal local inventories, just-in-time materials management practices, and limitations within supplier production systems, such as just-in-time purchasing and production systems. Stockpiles are being developed at the local, regional, and federal level to aid in surge capacity in order to minimize morbidity and mortality related to MCIs.
Purchasing cache materials is only one step in maintain and sustaining a stockpile. Oversight, coordination, and management of cache materials are considered essential components of the larger programmatic approach required of emergency management to address the underlying issue of surge support and resource shortage. Management of caches requires an investment in infrastructure and training, but is necessary to ensure the integrity of stockpiled medication and supplies, and to enable rapid and appropriate activation during an MCI. Assessment and management of federally stockpiled materials are handled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but hospitals, healthcare systems, or regional organizations are responsible for maintaining locally-owned stockpiles. The CDC has protocols for assessing and managing the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), but no such guidance previously existed for local or geographical/regional stockpiles.
Dr. Rebmann and colleagues outline recommendations on the timing and procedures for assessing, inventorying, storing, managing, tracking, and deploying of materials stockpiled on-site, in a trailer or warehouse. In addition, alternative approaches for maintaining a local or regional cache, such as vendor- or user-managed inventory methods, are addressed. Hospitals, healthcare systems, businesses, academic institutions, public health agencies, organizations, and/or regions can use the recommendations in this paper to develop protocols or policies to properly manage their existing stockpiles, which should minimize costs related to damaged supplies.
The new publication, “Best Practices for Healthcare Facility and Regional Stockpile Maintenance and Sustainment: A Literature Review” was published in Health Security and authored by Dr. Terri Rebmann, professor, department of epidemiology and biostatistics, and director, Institute for Biosecurity, and Ms. Leslie Osborne and Mr. Gabriel A. Haas are MPH biosecurity & disaster preparedness students in the Institute for Biosecurity, department of epidemiology & biostatistics, Saint Louis. Mr. Kyle McPhee, is director of preparedness programs, Hagerty Consulting, Evanston, IL., and an alum of the MS in biosecurity & disaster preparedness program at St. Louis. Dr. Daniel P. Gillen is assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care, St. Louis, MO., and a current MS student in the biosecurity & disaster preparedness program at Saint Louis.