You may have heard about members of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)
Commissioned Corps at Mid City. Last week, these public health professionals
arrived at Mid City to help with coronavirus relief efforts. A group of
33 officers comprised of nurses, physicians, mental health professionals,
nurse practitioners, case managers and pharmacists are integrated in with
BRG staff to help on COVID units. This means we will be able to care for
an additional 10-12 patients at one time.
The USPHS Commissioned Corps has a history that dates back over two centuries.
On July 16, 1798, the Fifth Congress passed an Act, signed by President
John Adams, providing for the care and medical treatment of merchant seamen
and thus began the story of the Public Health Service. These officers
serve throughout the federal government to provide essential healthcare
services to underserved and vulnerable populations and respond to public
or global health emergencies, such as a pandemic.
As of July 6, an 11-person tactical critical care has joined the original
33 public health officers at Mid City to further assist with the influx
of COVID patients. The team is deployed from the National Disaster Medicine
System (NDMS) and includes physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists
and patient care assistants.
NDMS is a partnership of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services,
Homeland Security, Defense, and Veterans Affairs. When major disasters
overwhelm state, local, tribal and territorial resources, NDMS can help
fill in the gaps, supplementing health and medical systems and response
capabilities. Teams have recently deployed to areas in need across the
U.S., from California and New Mexico to Lake Charles and Georgia. They
also assisted in evacuating people from cruise ships early in the pandemic.
We are grateful for the help from both the USPHS and NDMS. “Our staff
is our most valuable resource, and we have been pushed to the limit with
the most recent surge of COVID-19 patients requiring critical care,”
said Dr. Venkat Banda, medical director at BRG Mid City. “Having
additional boots on the ground means our team can care for more patients
in Baton Rouge, and we are grateful for their help.”