NACCHO, Local Health Departments Test New Pandemic Influenza Hotline
WASHINGTON—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), has awarded grants to two local health departments to pilot test a new toll-free telephone helpline called Flu on Call™.
Flu on Call™ is a national network of call centers that is designed to provide information and free medical advice to callers during a severe influenza pandemic. Although there is no pandemic anywhere in the world now, local health departments are always working to improve their ability to respond to public health emergencies.
NACCHO has selected City of Milwaukee Health Department in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Three Rivers Public Health Department in Fremont, Nebraska, to participate in the pilot program. Area partners, including medical centers, vaccine clinics, and public school systems are also involved in the pilot program.
The 2016 influenza season offers the opportunity to live test Flu on Call™. Beginning January 12, phone lines in the Milwaukee and Three Rivers jurisdictions will be open to the public. Flu on Call™ information specialists and clinicians will offer advice and triage callers. Callers may be directed to their regular providers, given information about home care and prevention, or be directed to emergency or urgent care, depending on the caller’s needs. Flu on Call™ is only available to residents in selected service area zip codes.
“Local health departments protect the health and safety of their communities during all types of public health emergencies, including pandemics,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO Executive Director. “These preparedness exercises are critical to help anticipate emerging threats and coordinate the right approach with community partners before an emergency occurs.”
The pilot program will wrap up in February. NACCHO and partners hope to use lessons learned during the pilot test to expand the program to additional communities.
About the National Association of County and City Health Officials
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation's 2,800 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.