Hudson Regional Health Commission
HRHC has been designated as the Local Information
Network Communications System (LINCS) Agency for Hudson County
through the Local Core Capacity Infrastructure for Bioterrorism Preparedness
grant between the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and
As the LINCS Agency for Hudson County,
HRHC is charged with:
- Maintaining a framework and mechanism that provides for ongoing
strategic leadership, direction, coordination, and assessment of
activities to ensure regional and local readiness; interagency
collaboration; preparedness for and response to bioterrorism, other
outbreaks of infectious disease, and other public health threats and
emergencies for the Hudson County area.
- Developing a system that provides for ongoing interaction with and
briefing of high-level policy makers and elected officials (county and
municipal) for the Hudson
County area and that
will serve as a mechanism for communicating during times of a public health
- Maintaining an active Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response
Advisory Committee for the Hudson
- Developing, enhancing and maintaining 24/7 disease surveillance,
detection and epidemiologic investigation response to potential bioterrorism
incidents, other infectious disease outbreaks and other public health
threats and emergencies (exclusive of chronic diseases).
- Building relationships and communicating with the public health
partners in the County and neighboring region, including, but not limited
to, the acute-care hospitals and representatives of appropriate
local/state/regional/national professional organizations.
- Developing a Hudson County Public Health Emergency Response Plan
(PHERP) that will be an annex to the Hudson County Emergency Operations
Plan. The PHERP is to be reviewed
by the Hudson
Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Police. It is to be rolled out by HRHC
bioterrorism team to all associated agencies/players and is to be
exercised annually. It covers:
notification protocol, communications, biological hazards, medical
surveillance and diagnosis/epidemiological investigation, roles and
responsibilities, patient management, mass fatalities, pediatric
information, laboratory information, post-impact, isolation/quarantine,
Strategic National Stockpile, human resources, and plan maintenance.
- Developing a written plan for the receipt, staging, storage, and
distribution of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) from the Centers of
Disease Control and Prevention of the federal government in the event of a
Hudson County public health
emergency. This plan outlines the
process for providing preventative treatment (either antibiotics or
immunizations) to large numbers of people who have been exposed, or have
potentially been exposed, to a disease agent. This is accomplished through the
activation of Point of Distribution (POD) sites throughout the county.
- Developing a Hudson County Risk Communication Plan which describes
methods of sending/receiving healthcare information with DHSS and other
public and private health agencies; redundant modes of communications to
key media, local health, hospital and healthcare audiences; methods of
disseminating generic health information to local constituents, including
public health officials, schools, businesses, senior citizens and other
underserved groups and special needs populations; and the development of a
communications network with community partners to help disseminate health
information related to bioterrorism.
- Overseeing the establishment of a Hudson County Governmental
Public Health Partnership and facilitating and coordinating the completion
of the Department of Health and Senior Services assessment tools for local
and governance public health system preparedness and response capacity and
for Public Health Practice Standards of Performance for Local Boards of
Health performance measurements.
- Facilitating and ensuring the identification and training of
public health, medical and first responder personnel and private
professionals to respond to both bioterrorist and naturally occurring
- Maintaining a web-enabled directory of critical local public
health personnel to allow 24/7 notification/action of the public health
emergency response system.
- Managing and operating the Hudson County e-mail/fax based
Community Health Alert and Information Network (CHAIN) as part of the
NJ-LINCS Health Alert Network on a 24/7 basis, which sends out health
alerts to identified Hudson County recipients. Also, assisting the local health
departments, and other public health and community partners with access to
and use of the network.
- Serving as a technical liaison to Hudson County
hospitals, local health departments and Hudson County Office of Emergency
Management for developing secure data exchange systems and other
electronic communications initiatives.
LINCS Team Members:
- Director - Health
- Assistant Director - NJDHSS Public Health Planner
- Epidemiologist - Public Health Partnership
- LINCS Coordinator
- IT Specialist To be hired: Public Health Nurse
- Actively participates in the Jersey City Metropolitan Medical
Response System (MMRS) as a means of addressing countywide public health
emergency planning issues.
- Coordinates with Hudson
on a near daily basis.
- Participates in regional interstate workgroups as well as those of
adjoining counties and various statewide committees (Metro BT Surveillance
and Epidemiology Workgroup Meeting, MEDPREP, Urban Areas Security
- Disease Surveillance Systems (to allow for the early detection of a
bioterrorist attack or naturally occurring disease outbreak):
Active Surveillance of
Hospital Emergency Room Visits: 6 county
hospitals report daily emergency department visits to the HRHC epidemiologist
who then analyzes the data to detect abnormal trends in emergency department
usage to detect potential bioterrorism related illnesses.
Illness Surveillance System: This system is extremely critical to the early warning of a potential
bioterrorism event since the majority of bioterrorism related diseases first
manifest with flu-like symptoms. All 8
county hospitals, as well as 6 county nursing homes report weekly
influenza-like illness surveillance to the HRHC epidemiologist. 45 schools report absenteeism
rates which is used as a proxy measure.
- Participates in the implementation of the statewide-automated New
Jersey Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System (CDRSS) by
providing training to those in Hudson
County who will be
using the system (local health departments and hospital Infection Control
- Developed a Hudson County email/fax based Community Health Alert
and Information Network (CHAIN) as part of the NJ-LINCS Health Alert
Network with approximately 5000 representatives from: local/county/state
government, hospitals, healthcare facilities, local/county health
agencies, health care providers, law enforcement, businesses, clinical
labs, community organizations, daycares, domestic and wild animal
professions, educational institutions, pharmaceuticals, utilities, and
others and disseminates information on a near daily basis.
- Developed a draft version of the comprehensive Hudson County
Public Health Emergency Response Plan, which is currently out for review
by identified stakeholders. This
plan covers: notification protocol, communications, biological hazards,
medical surveillance& diagnosis/epidemiological response, roles and
responsibilities, patient management, isolation/quarantine, Strategic
National Stockpile receipt and distribution (see next bullet), human
resources, risk communication and plan maintenance.
- Developed the Hudson County Strategic National Stockpile: Mass
Prophylaxis/ Immunization Plan which was submitted in draft format to the
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services on March 1, 2004. This plan outlines how the entire Hudson County population or a portion of
the population would distribute preventative treatment to people exposed,
or potentially exposed to a bioterrorism disease agent. 35 Point of Distribution sites have been preliminarily identified for the county and
13 have been formally inspected and deemed feasible. Included in the plan are the procedures
surrounding the Strategic National Stockpile including:
request/activation, receipt and distribution, transportation, storage,
security, inventory management, drug accountability, recovery of pharmaceutical
assets/supplies, staffing, special needs populations, risk communication,
and training and education.
- HRHC is a host site for providing education and training for the
public health, medical, and first responder communities and other related disciplines
through distance learning (satellite and web-based) broadcasts.
- A “Taking the Terror Out of Bioterrorism”
presentation has been conducted at many different locations in the county
for the general public, school nurses, and the business community.
- HRHC has received a grant to establish a Medical Reserve Corp for Hudson County, to recruit and train mass
prophylaxis/immunization volunteers in the event of the need to activate
Point of Distribution sites to provide preventative treatment to a large
population. Approximately 250
volunteers have been preliminarily identified.