What is the liability for providing medications to employees and their family members?
Liability issues are a common concern that employers have expressed when asked to distribute or dispense medical countermeasures on behalf of public health. Liability protection is provided to organizations at the federal level when a Public Readiness Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act declaration is issued.
The PREP Act authorizes the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services to issue a PREP Act declaration in response to a public health emergency. A PREP Act declaration provides immunity from tort liability claims (except willful misconduct) to individuals or organizations involved in the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of medical countermeasures. PREP Act declarations have been issued many times in the past. The most recent example was H1N1 in 2009.
Is it possible that our business will need to operate a Closed POD afterhours, during the weekend, or on a holiday?
Public health emergencies can strike at any time. It is essential that your business be prepared to operate your Closed POD during non-working hours. Develop after-hours contact lists for key individuals. Evaluate your facility and determine what and how long it would take to open and provide services. Develop communication/notification procedures to alert and inform your employees during non-working hours.
What about employees who commute long distances to and from work?
As a Closed POD, you should expect to provide medications to all employees and their families. Medications should be made available to long-distance commuters, but they are NOT required to attend your POD. It may be more convenient for these individuals to attend Open (public) PODs near their residences. In any case, you should plan for each and every employee.
Could some parts of the region be affected more than others?
Public health emergencies can vary dramatically depending on factors such as weather, the disease, the mode of transmission, etc. It is entirely possible that some parts of the region may be required to provide emergency medications while others may not. OCHD will use epidemiology—the study and/or investigation of diseases and outbreaks in a defined area or population—to determine the full impact of the public health emergency. Please be aware that even though an emergency event might occur, the services of your Closed POD may not be needed. Listen to information from OCHD throughout the event.
What if employees work in Oakland County, but live in another county?
This plan is intended to cover all employees who work at your organization. If an employee is unable to report to work they may go to an Open POD in their resident county.
What happens after dispensing operations are completed?
Upon notifying OCHD that you have completed your medication dispensing, you will be instructed to transition to recovery and provide the following to OCHD:
- Any unused medications
- Copies of all HOH medication screening forms