To report a Public Health Emergency call:
(210) 207-8752 Office
(210) 219-7396 Cell
(210) 205-3653 Pager
Public Health Preparedness
Metro Health's Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Division is responsible for all associated activities regarding Public Health All-Hazards Preparedness for the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and all municipal jurisdictions within Bexar County.
A Public Health Emergency is defined as an immediate threat from a naturally occurring or intentional event that poses a high risk of fatalities or serious long-term disability to large numbers of people. A Public Health Emergency can also have the potential for a major impact on public health due to there being a substantial risk of a public health exposure because of a high level of contagion and the particular means of transmission of the infectious agent which might cause public panic and social disruption. Public health planning and response requires multi-agency/multi-jurisdictional coordination as events often overlap geopolitical boundaries.
The Metro Health Director has been appointed as the Bexar County Health Authority in times of a public health emergency. The Health Authority is an officer of the state and duties are defined by law under Health and Safety Code 121.021 – 121.029. A local Health Authority has considerable power that allows the Health Authority to investigate suspected incidents and outbreaks of communicable disease.
The Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act is a comprehensive statute – codified as Chapter 81, Texas Health and Safety Code – that provides for numerous control measures to be made available for the use in protecting the public health such as:
- Preventative Therapy
Texas Law allows Control Measures to be imposed on individuals, property, municipalities and common carriers. As part of the National Response Plan, Emergency Services Function (8) Health/Medical, the PHEP Division is responsible for all Health/Medical Response activities within a given jurisdiction.
- Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
- Emerging Infectious Disease
- Natural Disasters
As the fear of bioterrorism grew in 1999, Metro Health began receiving minimal funding from the Department of State Health Services to increase laboratory capacity for the rapid detection of Bioterrorism Category “A” agents. In FY 2002, following 911, President Bush had asked all health departments to develop a Strategic National Stockpile Plan (SNS) to protect citizens within its jurisdiction prior to the initiation of the Second Gulf War in fear of terrorist activities. By mid-year of 2002, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention enhanced funding levels to:
- State Health Departments
- Regional Health Departments
- Local Health Departments
These bioterrorism funds were to enhance current public health response capabilities in the following areas:
- Preparedness Planning (SNS)
- Surveillance and Epidemiology
- Laboratory Capacity
- HAN/PHIN, IT, and Communications
- Risk Communications and Health Information Dissemination
- Education, Training, and Exercising
In an effort to respond rapidly to a large-scale public health event, Metro Health coordinates with all first responder and emergency coordinating agencies at the local, regional, state and federal levels. To minimize cost and maximize resources, Metro Health, in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services Region 8, has initiated the Medical Volunteers Coordinating Committee to oversee volunteer management, and has implemented agreements with private companies, universities and colleges, independent school districts, nonprofit and faith-based organizations.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness/ 2509 Kennedy Circle, Bldg. 125/ Brooks City Base, Tx 78235