The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new “ebola checklist” detailing the best practices for hospitals and health care professionals who are tasked with treating patients infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD.)

From the checklist:

In order to enhance our collective preparedness and response efforts, this checklist highlights key areas for hospital staff — especially hospital emergency management officers, infection control practitioners, and clinical practitioners — to review in preparation for a person with EVD arriving at a hospital for medical care. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure your hospital is able to detect possible EVD cases, protect your employees, and respond appropriately.

While we are not aware of any domestic EVD cases (other than two American citizens who were medically evacuated to the United States), now is the time to prepare, as it is possible that individuals with EVD in West Africa may travel to the United States, exhibit signs and symptoms of EVD, and present to facilities.

The checklist’s provisions appear to have the goal of holding hospitals accountable for following protocol, training their employees in EVD detection, and being prepared to isolate patients and protect staff. It also provides a “quick resources list” that administrators and providers can use to educate staff about the disease, help answer questions from the community, and follow the status of outbreaks.

The checklist makes it clear that there is no evidence of an EVD outbreak in the United States; this is simply the CDC’s way of preparing hospitals for the possibility–and it’s wise of them to start now.

The EVD outbreak in West Africa has now exposed four Americans to the virus; additionally, members of our military have been sent to Africa to help organize an active response to the disease. Whether or not you agree with this policy decision, or the decisions of American missionaries who choose to serve in volatile regions, it’s hard to argue against this new CDC mandate to get supplied, get educated, and get prepared. If health care professionals aren’t currently prepared to deal with ebola, the time to change that is now. Yesterday, even. The politics of Health and Human Services’ actions will cease to matter if this thing hits the fan and lives are at risk.

Hopefully, if and when ebola does hit our shores, our preparation will have been enough.

You can read the entire “Hospital Checklist” here.