How we got started
In 2014, Los Angeles County (LA County) was one of five localities to receive funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities — designed to improve healthcare system response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and other emerging infectious diseases.
As the recipient of this funding, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency developed the Emerging Infectious Disease Program for LA County. Four hospitals volunteered for the program and emerged as LA County’s arsenal of facilities equipped to care for and treat patients infected with special pathogens. The group included a regional Ebola treatment center, two state-designated Ebola treatment centers, and a pediatric Ebola assessment center.
Spearheaded by the EMS Agency, these centers came together and met bi-monthly to share ideas and best practices, and subsequently became a local network of subject matter experts on special pathogens for LA County’s healthcare coalition.
Expanding to meet LA County's changing needs
The profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 led Congress to appropriate emergency funds to support the urgent preparedness and response needs of hospitals, health systems, and healthcare workers on the frontlines through HPP. With these funds, LA County built upon its existing network of subject matter experts from the three special pathogen treatment centers (formerly known as Ebola treatment centers):
- Cedars Sinai Medical Center,
- Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, and
- Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Together the centers established the Los Angeles Special Pathogens Education and Training Center (LA-SPETC), whose mission is to enhance and create a robust healthcare coalition response to special pathogens through education and training for frontline healthcare facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and other healthcare care sectors.