Frequently Asked Questions

When did Denver Health receive its designation as an Ebola Treatment Center?

Denver Health received the designation as a Regional Ebola and Special Pathogen Treatment Center for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2015. During the West African Ebola Outbreak in 2014, Denver Health created the High Risk Infection Team to ensure readiness and preparedness for our hospital and staff. Denver Health underwent a review of its facilities by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess readiness. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, with Denver Health as the designated regional center, received federal funding to support Denver Health’s role as the Regional Ebola and Special Pathogen Treatment Center in 2015.

What are the federal requirements for Denver Health’s designation as an Ebola Treatment Center?

The designation is based on Denver Health’s ability to meet the following standards for rapid Ebola assessment:

  • Accept patients within eight hours of being notified;
  • Have the capacity to treat at least two Ebola patients at the same time;
  • Conduct quarterly trainings and exercises;
  • Receive an annual readiness assessment by experts from health care facilities that have safely and successfully cared for patients with Ebola in the United States;
  • Be able to treat pediatric patients with Ebola or other infectious diseases or partner with a neighboring facility to do so;
  • Be able to safely handle Ebola-contaminated or other highly contaminated infectious waste.

Does Denver Health have to renew this certification/designation annually?

Yes. Denver Health is required per to undergo an annual site visit from the National Ebola Training and Education Center. The hospital is also required to go through quarterly exercises and trainings.

How many hours of training do staff involved with the Biocontainment Unit (BCU) have to go through in order to be certified to be a caretaker in the BCU? Is this annual training?

Members of the volunteer, High Risk Infection Team go through more than 22 hours of training throughout the year, annually to ensure readiness, security and competency to work in the Biocontainment Unit.

How many members of the Denver Health staff are trained to work in the Biocontainment Unit?

Denver Health has a High Risk Infection Team of nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, lab staff and ancillary support. Denver Health currently has more than 40 volunteer members. It also has training capabilities for consultants needed in the unit, and provide refreshers for staff. When a patient arrives at Denver Health, the team will activate. 

The High Risk Infection Team has members from all over the medical campus including the critical care units, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, infection prevention, the emergency department, nursing education, public health and the laboratory.

What region does Denver Health’s Ebola designation cover?

Patients in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming with a suspected or known infection would be transferred to Denver Health. Denver Health is available to care for highly infectious patients from other regions if other hospitals are unable to care for them.

How are suspected Ebola patients transported to Denver Health?

A benefit of Denver Health’s integrated health system is the inclusion of the 911 emergency ambulance service as a core component of the health and hospital authority. The Denver Health Paramedic Division has been designated as the state-wide lead for Ebola transport for Colorado, and coordinates highly infectious disease transport with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, with Denver Health Infectious Disease physicians, and with the Biocontainment Unit (BCU). The Paramedic Highly Infectious Transport Team is made up of 12 specially trained paramedics who work jointly with BCU team members to coordinate safe transport and transfer of patients to BCU staff. The Paramedic Division supports this team with additional training, specialized equipment, and a dedicated highly infectious transport vehicle.