Federal Flu Portal Offers Pandemic Preparedness Checklist

Posted on March 21 at http://pandemicflu.gov is a five-page Health Insurer Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist that will be of use to other types of organizations, too, as they work on preparedness. Planning, communications, resource allocation, changes in business practices, and cooperation with outside agencies are addressed in the document, which is available directly at http://pandemicflu.gov/plan/workplaceplanning/healthinsurer.pdf.

The overall Web site is a useful source fed by many federal agencies, including the White House, USDA, CDC, NIOSH, FDA, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, DOL and OSHA, FEMA, EPA, and the Department of Homeland Security. The HHS Interagency Public Affairs Group on Influenza Preparedness and Response coordinates pandemic-related information across the federal government.

The checklist was created by HHS and CDC. Its introduction notes that health insurers will have several key responsibilities in an influenza pandemic. These include protecting their employees' health and safety, providing coverage and services to enrollees, and coordinating access to care through the provider community. The introduction asks insurers to consider incorporating the checklist's elements into their all-hazards business continuity plans.

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