Health Care Closed Points of Dispensing

Understanding Points of Dispensing

Points of dispensing (POD) are community locations at which state and local agencies dispense and administer medical countermeasures (MCMs) to the public. MCMs such as vaccines, antiviral drugs, antibiotics, antitoxins, and chemical antidotes are used to effectively prevent, mitigate, or treat adverse health effects of an intentional, accidental, or naturally occurring public health emergency.[1]

To aid in rapidly dispensing MCMs, the local public health department will plan on using two types of PODs, open and closed. Open PODs are typically located at public locations such as arenas, community centers, or schools. These locations are often operated by local public health agencies and are where they dispense or administer MCMs to the public. Closed PODs are sites staffed and managed by organizations and agencies (both public and private) to dispense MCMs only to their own populations while continuing operations during a public health emergency. Open and closed PODs can and should be used simultaneously.

To learn more about the concepts related to MCM dispensing see Medical Countermeasures (MCM) and Points of Dispensing (POD) Basics fact sheet.

Planning for Health Care Closed PODs

Engaging community health care partners to manage and operate closed PODs can augment public health operations and strengthen community preparedness. Local public health agencies can collaborate with health care facilities to engage them in closed POD planning. Health care organizations that function as closed PODs may provide medication to their staff, family, patients and residents. Doing so may help ensure that their workforce can continue operations during a public health emergency and reduce the population at open PODs.

The CDC video, Taking Care of Business, describes how organizations benefit from functioning as closed PODs.

Planning for closed PODs is similar across various types of organizations. The links below provide information and resources health care organizations may find useful while planning for closed PODs, as well as a primer on MCMs and closed PODs.

Considerations specific to health care agencies can be found in the First Steps in Planning for Closed Point of Dispensing Operations planning aid. The Becoming a Closed Point of Dispensing (POD) Partner fact sheet is designed to help health care leaders understand the benefits of having their organizations participate in jurisdictional closed POD programs.

The Closed Point of Dispensing (POD) Roles and Responsibilities fact sheet outlines public health and health care organizations’ roles in establishing health care closed PODs. A key point to remember is that planning for closed PODs is an ongoing process that requires ongoing commitment and engagement from both health care and public health agencies.

[1] 2016 Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Strategy and Implementation Plan. 2016. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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