In other action
The Memorial Hospital Board:
• Approved, 6-0, the appointment of Dr. Bryon Bomberg, orthopedic surgeon, to provisional staff
• Approved, 6-0, the reappointment of Dr. Fred Jones, radiologist, to active staff.
• Approved, 6-0, an amendment to a lease agreement for a copier from Alpine Document Solutions.
• Approved, 6-0, a rental of a temporary CT scanner while the permanent machine is moved to the new facility. The rental cost $23,000.
Craig Health care providers around Northwest Colorado have begun to receive H1N1 vaccines, but The Memorial Hospital has yet to receive an adequate amount to protect all of its health care workers from contracting and spreading the virus.
At its monthly meeting, the TMH Board of Trustees discussed emergency preparedness and priorities for vaccinations in case of an outbreak in Craig.
Mitch Edgeworth, a representative from health consulting firm Quorum Health Resources, gave a presentation on appropriate planning for the possibility of the pandemic spreading to Northwest Colorado.
"H1N1 is not a surprise," he said. "Will there be an outbreak of H1N1 in Craig? We don't know. The point is if an outbreak were to happen, have you adequately prepared for it?"
TMH chief clinical officer Beka Warren said the hospital has seen several cases of the flu, all of which are assumed to be H1N1.
The unique strain of flu is characterized by high fevers and its tendency to affect younger demographics - 50 percent of H1N1 cases occurred in people 24 and younger.
In a report to the board, Warren said although a vaccine is available, there have been difficulties in distributing it among health services.
Because of H1N1's pandemic status, the vaccine is being distributed by the Center for Disease Control instead of by the manufacturers.
On the federal government's hierarchy of at-risk groups, pregnant women are first in line to receive the vaccination. Health care workers are third in line, and protecing them is a priority in protecting the public, especially high-risk demographics, from exposure to the virus, Warren said.
Still, TMH has received enough of the vaccine to protect only a few of its workers.
"Everybody is limited with it," Warren said. "We don't want to be spreading this virus to people who are at risk, pregnant or just came out of surgery. We still wear protective equipment like masks, and the staff's been working really hard to identify possible risks."
Warren said she has been told TMH will receive more of the vaccine in late November to early December.
"Unfortunately, the vaccine may not be available until after the H1N1 is widespread," she said.
Warren said all workers have been vaccinated for the regular seasonal flu but that TMH has yet to see any of those cases.
The public may have access to the vaccine through the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association or local health clinics, which have received more of the vaccine.
Warren recommended the public call their primary care doctor or the VNA if they are interested in the H1N1 vaccine or think they might be at risk.
"We just want to be able to protect the public and protect ourselves," she said.