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Member since: Sun Nov 28, 2004, 11:58 AM
Number of posts: 11,050

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Here is what happens when you privatize Emergency Preparedness.

My brother who was the director of emergency preparedness for southern Maine health facilities wrote this Facebook today as Maine faces Covid 19.

"In my last job, we had purchased over 1.5 million dollars of emergency equipment. Items such as emergency respirators, patient isolation equipment like negative pressure air handling systems with HEPA filtration, personal protective equipment, tens of thousand of surgical and N-95 masks, emergency patient beds and auto ventilators. I and my predecessor Steve Trockman had built up a coalition of 150 agencies in the healthcare and emergency preparedness fields. We worked together to train on this technical equipment and prepare for infectious disease outbreaks. We helped write the Maine states plans on H1N1, Swine Flu, Zika and Ebola.

As the years past, budgets started to be cut, each year we got less or the same amount. Equipment began to expire and even durable goods would break and need replacement. We were losing capacity to respond more and more. We went from an office of 8 staff down to only myself. Then in Dec 2018 the ME CDC with orders from Governor Paul LePage, outsourced my job to a company in North Carolina with no experience in Maine. A decade of work shattered without any transition plan at all. I was never contacted by the new agency and from what I can see the coalition, which was sited Nationally for excellence went into a state of complete collapse. The ME CDC staffers who destroyed the program are still running it today.

I complained dearly about this, the fact that we were losing capacity and that our hospital and long term care centers would be ill prepared for a significant outbreak. It fell on deaf ears at the ME CDC. I contacted the new governor with no reply, contacted several legislators and did not get any response. I wasn't even supported by my own agency (who administered the federal HPP grant) Maine Medical Center. I think they did not want to make any "waves" with the state government since they were in the process of applying for large new hospital expansion.

Our agency was enacted by the Maine Legislature and I sited the laws to officials, but no one cared and I could not afford to hire a lawyer to defend. I think I would have had a good chance in court on this. The ME CDC broke the law in my opinion.

So almost overnight, the program collapsed. Equipment expired and many items were tossed into the garbage. I think they were so embarrassed at what happened they wanted to sweep me under the rug. There were a few that gave me lip service but did nothing. Even at my own hospital MMC, little help.

In the mean time the critical training and equipment that could have saved hundreds of lives in this Corona outbreak, lay waste. No one was held accountable for this. I am ashamed, saddened and angry. This not only happened to my program, but across the country. It seems that people have to die in order for government to react. When you say you want smaller government, then expect no response to happen during critical events. You get what you pay for and now we will all be paying dearly for this egregious mistake. Only is it our loved ones that will suffer and die because of it. Please copy this to your legislature, and representative. Ask them why they defunded this program (Healthcare Preparedness Program under ASPR), why they outsourced it why the people who did this were never held accountable. It is a back story that they do not want you to hear. "

Paul Weiss

Here is a link to the published article on this.


Pass this on for exposure. Glad Gov LePage is gone.

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