State versus Feds

One thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised by during this H1N1 season is the willingness of some state departments of public health to issue guidance that differs from that of the CDC. I’m a little surprised that the media hasn’t paid more attention to this.

CDC says all health care workers with ILI should stay home for 7 days? Iowa says nah, come back if you’ve been afebrile for 24 hours and your cough has improved.

CDC says wear an N95 mask for all direct contact with patients with suspected H1N1? Iowa says no, surgical masks are fine except for aerosol-generating procedures.

On the one hand, this makes it easier for hospitals like ours to establish sensible, and feasible, policies during the long H1N1 season….on the other hand, neither the state public health department nor the CDC is going to come in to your hospital and slap you with a big fine. OSHA might….and they will require you to follow CDC guidance.

So maybe, one day, CDC and OSHA will get their collective “stuff” together and issue guidance that actually makes sense for busy, understaffed hospitals, and that can be sustained through future influenza seasons (since H1N1 is, after all… INFLUENZA virus).


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