Stigma and cost making hospitals wary of caring for Ebola patients

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

December 3, 2014

U.S. hospitals are reluctant to become part of a U.S. network of facilities specializing in the care of Ebola patients because of worries about steep costs, unwanted attention and the possibility of scaring away other patients, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The report comes amid efforts by the CDC to sift through dozens of hospitals that have volunteered to become “Ebola hospitals,” facilities that have the isolation capability and staff to maintain the round-the-care and specialized protocols required to treat such patients. The Obama administration announced a $6-billion emergency funding request for Ebola, including $154 million for hospital preparedness and support. Eventually, the plan is to designate one Ebola-ready facility in every state, the report said.

According to the report, several hospitals have concerns that treating Ebola patients can be costly, requiring scores of nurses and other health workers, and in many, staffing is already stretched thin. Also, widespread media attention and the potential loss of revenue if other patients steer clear of the facility, as well as the constant worry that a mistake could result in employees’ becoming infected are considerations as well.