News Release

 

 

For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000
countyexec@co.dutchess.ny.us

August 27, 2002

 

County Executive Endorses Local Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps.

                                                  

Poughkeepsie….Dutchess County Executive, William R. Steinhaus, today announced his support of a proposal to strengthen local communities' capacity to respond to an emergency and to strengthen the local public health infrastructure. 

The Dutchess County Executive and Commissioner of Health recently sent letters supporting the Northern Metropolitan Health Care Foundation (NorMet) proposal to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, to implement a Volunteer Medical Service Reserve Corps demonstration project within our County.  “The Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps will enable Dutchess County to strengthen the community's ability to respond effectively,” said County Executive Steinhaus.  The County Executive added, “Following the September 11th tragedy many health professionals wanted to volunteer to help.  One of the lessons learned, however, was that even though they were well trained in their individual professions, they were not necessarily trained to respond in an emergency.  Moreover, existing organizational structures were not fully adequate to absorb these volunteers and to use their expertise as effectively as possible.  We believe this is an excellent opportunity to harness this available volunteer talent in our community and integrate it into our existing emergency planning and response programs.

In July, 2002, the federal Health and Human Services Agency announced the availability of $2 million dollars in grants to help local officials develop Local Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps units.  Medical Reserve Corps units will be composed of community led/community based volunteers who may assist medical response professionals and facilities during large-scale local emergencies, such as naturally occurring influenza epidemics, hazardous materials spills or acts of terrorism. Volunteers can include, but are not limited to, current or retired health professionals (such as physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, dentists, dental assistants, pharmacists and veterinarians), social workers, communications/public relations professionals, health care administrators and clergy, among others. Local communities can apply for up to $50,000 in grants to develop their own Medical Reserve Corps units.

Mr. Arthur E. Weintraub, President of Northern Metropolitan Health Care Foundation stated, “Our hospitals view the Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps in an important way to augment and support their preparedness for large-scale emergencies.  The Corps will provide a structure for recruiting, organizing and training volunteer health professionals and others for such emergencies. We are pleased Dutchess County government fully recognizes the value of building such a community based resource and we look forward to working in close cooperation with them.” 

“County Executive Steinhaus fully recognizes the importance of expanding and strengthening the County’s medical response capacity in the event of a public health disaster.  The NorMet organization has close working relationships with the hospitals, medical community, the County health and emergency response departments and a variety of other health related entities.  These relationships will help to facilitate and coordinate the creation of the volunteer corps,” said Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH, Dutchess County Commissioner of Health.

-end-

2002 Press Releases