Since September 11 - and especially in the wake of the anthrax hysteria seizing the country - the healthcare community has been confronting the need for a very specific
bioterrorism response plan. Nancy Glick, PR NEWS healthcare columnist and EVP for Ruder Finn's healthcare practice, highlights Johns Hopkins University's recommendations for
bioterrorism preparedness: (1) Educate hospital physicians and nurses, especially ER staff, about the diagnostic features of agents like anthrax and smallpox by (a) compiling a
list of essential employees to triage and treat infected patients, and determine how the emergency room can be quickly transformed into a contained, infection control treatment
area, and (b) checking supplies of antibiotics, masks and other medical supplies. (2) Have in place a crisis communications plan, developed in tandem with the bioterrorism
preparedness plan, so that while the hospital is responding to any public health threat, it will have the messages and tools in place to provide factual information to the media
and the hospital's key publics.