Pandemic influenza and acute care centers: taking care of sick patients in a nonhospital setting

Biosecur Bioterror. 2008 Dec;6(4):335-48. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2008.0030.


The ongoing spread of H5N1 avian influenza in Southeast Asia has raised concern about a worldwide influenza pandemic and has made clear the need to plan in advance for such an event. The federal government has stressed the importance of planning and, in particular, has asked hospitals and public health agencies to develop plans to care for patients outside of traditional healthcare settings. These alternative or acute care centers (ACCs) would be opened when hospitals, emergency departments (EDs), and clinics are overwhelmed by an influenza pandemic. The University of Michigan Hospital System (UMHS), a large tertiary care center in southeast Michigan, has been developing a model for offsite care of patients during an influenza pandemic. This article summarizes our planning efforts and the lessons learned from 2 functional exercises over the past 3 years.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities* / organization & administration
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Equipment and Supplies / supply & distribution
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, University / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Mass Casualty Incidents*
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Palliative Care
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Teaching