Lessons learned from Katrina, 9/11, SARS, and other disasters
So we are aggressive on it, but clearly we need to do more and figure out some of the solutions to some of these basic healthcare manpower issues that are going to stymie us.
DEBOISBLANC: Nancy, if I could make a comment. I hadn't thought about this before Katrina, but one of the big issues we encountered was credentialing that physicians came in and didn't have a license to practice medicine in the state of Louisiana; that a lot of hospitals that were receiving patients wanted to be able to use these medical staff but didn't know how to jump through all these medical-staff hoops to get emergency credentials.
I think some national database of pre-credentialed people that would be willing to respond to a disaster and the right legislation to make it transparent would have gone a long way to getting the resources to the point of care in an expeditious manner. Louisiana has enacted a good samaritan legislation that allows us to do that, but it ought to be a nationwide effort and there aught to be a database of people who've already gone through the credentialing process because God only knows we don't want people pretending to be doctors actually coming to practice medicine. But it's something that should be easy to do.
SHUTE: Thanks. That's a really good point. I think there has been some discussion about that on the national level and maybe there's somebody here in the room who could comment on that. I don't know - are we about ready to throw it open to questions? Questions from the room if you could give your name and affiliation and if there's someone specific you want to address your questions to, please do.
Q: Are you prepared to ask one yourself? [Laughter.] Well, I'll throw one out. What about the military the role of the military and in that sense, as far as volunteers go - a help? A hindrance? Different command and control structures? How does that marry with the civilian structure and was that a hindrance or a help?
DEBOISBLANC: I've thought a lot about this. There's one thing that the military does very well. They practice it every day and they practice it under duress and that is command and control.
I'm not sure we need boots on the ground. I'm not sure that the military would be better at responding to a humanitarian or a medical crisis than the people we have in this room. I'm sure that they wouldn't be.
But what they are very good at is command and control. Why not have the military assume the command and control structure? We'll do the we'll put the boots on the ground; we'll do the footwork. But we need that coordination that only they can provide. The technology is already in place, they've rehearsed it every day. We ought to use it.
SHUTE: Colonel Franz? [Laughter.]
FRANZ: One of the interesting metrics now in the military is that, about 70 percent or more of healthcare for the military is by reservists. And so you have already civilians, for the most part, that are trained to be in uniform.