In late January, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Division of State and Local Readiness convened over 60 medical countermeasure (MCM) experts across the local, state, and federal levels to gather feedback about a new MCM Operational Resource Guide. Meeting attendees included public health and emergency management agency staff, pharmaceutical industry partners, tribal nations, and other healthcare representatives. Several national associations also participated, including NACCHO staff and MCM workgroup members from various local health departments. The purpose of the meeting was to compile recommendations on the content and format of the MCM Operational Resource Guide prior to its release to a national audience.
Although still in draft form, the MCM Operational Resource Guide aims “to serve planners at all levels and in all sectors to include public health, healthcare, and emergency management by providing relevant resources in one product to aid in developing compressive, all-hazard response plans.” The guide is meant to complement CDC’s previously released resource, “Receiving, Distributing, and Dispensing Strategic National Stockpile Assets: A Guide for Preparedness, Version 11 (login required to access), by helping operationalize MCM plans for MCM stakeholders. Additionally this guide was designed to better align with current Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program (PHEP) grant requirements. The guide’s draft version consists of current federal MCM resources, legal and regulatory mechanisms for emergency use of MCMs, all-hazards MCM planning considerations, and hazard-specific annexes with detailed information on MCMs for each threat.
January’s meeting began with a series of updates from CDC partners on the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), regulatory mechanisms, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement, and the MCM Operational Readiness Review (ORR). Of note, partners indicated that there will be an increased emphasis on all-hazards MCM preparedness in future iterations of the MCM ORR. Following the update presentations, workshop participants rotated through five separate breakout sessions on topics such as the MCM request process, incorporating immunizations into MCM planning, an anthrax annex, healthcare system needs, and MCM plan templates. During the breakout sessions, meeting participants reviewed specific sections of the guide and provided recommendations for changes.
The workshop concluded with a brainstorming session on a dissemination strategy for the tool, including where the guide should be posted so that members of public health, emergency management, and healthcare communities can easily access it. Based on group discussions, the guide will likely be featured as a webpage divided into sections on various topics. This approach was supported due to the ease of making regular and real-time updates to a web based resource. Another benefit of housing the guide online was the potential to link various portions of the guide to Version 11 MCM Guidance and other useful MCM resources to serve as examples or provide more in-depth information.
NACCHO will continue to be engaged in the development of this resource to provide the local health department perspective and ensure local preparedness planning needs are met as this document is updated, revised, and finalized. The guide will be worked on over the course of this year and no date has been set for its official release. NACCHO will share more information about the guide and its release on the Preparedness Brief Blog in the future, so please check back regularly.