Contributions of a Legal and Policy Consultant in Managing an Influenza Pandemic

Legal and Policy Consultant in Managing an Influenza

The severity of the Issue

The influenza pandemic is a vital issue of concern primarily because of the potential devastation that could arise if it remains unchecked. According to Chowell et al. (2017), a primary determinant of how severe an influenza pandemic is based on the measure of the number of cases of deaths and austere illnesses it causes is the virulence trait of the virus. In this regard, the primary challenge is that the influenza being a virus is untreatable following its ever-evolving state. Other than this, numerous other factors enhance the severity of the impact of the influenza pandemic. Despite the virus having mild symptoms, Hayward et al. (2014) posit that it can be contracted by almost anyone provided they come into contact with the body fluids of an infected individual. That is especially notable in the contemporary world characterized by a high degree of mobility and interdependence of the societies within it. If one country is affected by this pandemic, the rest of the world will also fall to the viral infection leading to a global pandemic. Other than this, Medina (2018) attribute the influenza virus with a high degree of virulence which implies that it can change over time. This means that the virus pandemic will spread through international ranks as waves causing serious illnesses and fatal cases.

Impact and Scope of the Issue

The impact of this pandemic on the economy will be significant if little effort is directed to containing it. According to Meltzer, Cox, and Fukuda (1999), influenza pandemics was witnessed at least three times in the 20th century (that is 1918, 1957 and 1968) which only means that another pandemic is highly likely. In 1918, the influenza pandemic caused a death toll of over 20 million people. However, improved medical care as a result of advancing technology reduced the number of deaths in the consequent pandemics but still could not stop it. This is an illustration of the ability of this pandemic to affect the workforce that will be available to the nation which will, in turn, reduce its productivity. The USA is one of the largest nations in the world which means that it will suffer a significant death toll if no effort is implemented.

Job Role

As a legal and policy consultant, it will be my role to provide tactical support to the managerial response team. It is possible that an influenza pandemic can spread to large population implying that it can affect a lot of people within a short period. This could spread across nations which are governed with a different rule of law. It will be my responsibility to ensure that the strategies formulated to contain the pandemic fall within the provisions of the law. This will ensure that the team does not face litigations for any violations after their work.

HC related Managerial Issues

A crucial issue that my job will aid in handling will involve the legality of the tactical strategies formulated by the incident commander. In this situation, I will be involved in the planning phase of the process to ensure that the strategy checks out on all legal requirements. For instance, effective containment of this pandemic will require crossing into foreign borders with foreign technology. Moreover, it will also demand working hand in hand with the medical and security forces of the foreign nations to manage this international issue. It will be the responsibility of the legal and policy consultant to work out all the legal kinks to ensure that during the period of influenza, the efforts of the team remain uninterrupted by legal matters.

Another managerial issue for which my job position will be crucial regards the provision of legal support to the managerial response team. Each member of this team can function independently but without comprehending the legal parameters in which they operate could have adverse consequences for them. For instance, the tactical level managers that constitute this team require legal knowledge to function effectively. For instance, the operational manager will have to comprehend the legal confines in which his plans should fall. In this way, it becomes easy to make crucial decisions without fear of the legal complications.

Policies

In the context of an influenza pandemic, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness (PAHPA) Act comes into action. It was enacted in 2006 to pool the national resources as a preparation act for a public emergency (Hodge, Gostin, & Vernick, 2007). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the authority when PAHPA is activated and directs the numerous offices and departments under its command, especially after a public health emergency like an influenza virus attack is confirmed. On the same note, the HHS is empowered by Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act which gives the department authority to declare a state of public health emergency. The communication to the stakeholders and ensures the success of the entire endeavor, the procedures and processes adhere to the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. This policy demands that patients’ personal health information, as well as personnel who report unsafe conditions at facilities, should be protected.

Stakeholder Analysis

An influenza pandemic engages different groups of people, each with unique interests in the situation. In this regard, the government has the greatest stake in the disaster considering that its people are in danger coupled with the fact that resources are expended at voluminous amounts. The center for disease control (CDC) stands for the federal government’s interests concerning developing and evaluating policies relevant to mitigating the pandemic and the emergency in general. Since CDC will be in control of the operations, other healthcare providers at scenes of disturbances will serve a supporting role. They are important stakeholders as their goal is to aid the affected. The National Institutes of Health is a stakeholder affiliated with the CDC serving a supporting role in the venture. In particular, the organization will conduct biomedical research on the pandemic to pinpoint a feasible strategy to resolve the situation.

The Communication Plan

To foster the success of the recovery plan, communication is essential and core to the strategy. As such, the process incorporates both formal and informal channels of communication. The use of broadcasting media like TV and radio advertisements will capture the attention of large masses. The communication can be made more effective through the use of informal communication channels like the social media and the internet. The fact that masses use these tools to fulfill their daily goals implies the possibility of reaching many people around the world. Formal communication channels like emails are reserved for communication with the personnel. In this way, all the stakeholders were accounted for in the plan.

Stakeholder Map

The stakeholder map of the influenza pandemic strings from the victims of the influenza pandemic. In this regard, the plan is as follows:

Lessons Learnt

A lesson learnt from this endeavor regards the leadership role that the managers play in the effort to manage pandemics of such scale. The rationale for this is that each manager is a leader for the section he or she represents which means that they have a significant impact on the outcome. Therefore, the effectiveness of the managerial response team is significantly dependent on the ability of its members to elicit the support of their subordinates. Another lesson learnt regards the collaborative effort required from the members of the managerial response team for it to work. Being a team, it brings together people possessing various skills and abilities to accomplish a common goal. Therefore, little can be achieved if the team is not able to work together. Finally, this exercise has allowed for a better understanding of what happens during a pandemic and how the managerial response team can work to contain it. Each member of the team brings to the table unique expertise and perspectives of the problem allowing for the formation of a sound strategy.  

References

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