Officers help staff at Baton Rouge General’s Mid City campus as Coronavirus cases increase


BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Have you seen the new Public Health Service officers at Baton Rouge General’s Mid City campus?

Members of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps arrived over the weekend and they are not military personnel.

BRG provided some information about the new arrivals:

  • While they are in uniform, they are not military personnel. They’re Public Health Service officers.
  • They are part of a group you likely haven’t heard of called the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • These public health professionals provide care during public health threats like outbreaks and pandemics, from yellow fever outbreaks in the U.S. to Ebola outbreaks in Africa
  • So far in the novel coronavirus pandemic, 4,000 Public Health Service officers have deployed in a host of locations and settings, including the CDC, Japan, the nursing home epicenter in Washington, New York, the Navajo Nation, prisons and testing sites.
  • The group of 33 officers at Baton Rouge General include nurses, physicians, mental health professionals, nurse practitioners, case managers and pharmacists.
  • They have integrated with BRG staff on COVID units
  • This means we can care for about 10-12 additional patients
  • The USPHS Commissioned Corps is led by the Assistant Secretary for Health and U.S. Surgeon General
  • It is one of eight uniformed services – and the only one dedicated solely to protecting and advancing America’s public health.
  • There are eight uniformed services in the country – the Armed Forces (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard) plus the USPHS Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Public Health Service officers serve throughout the federal government to:

  • Provide essential healthcare services to underserved and vulnerable populations
  • Respond to public health emergencies or global emergencies
  • Lead public health programs and policy development
  • Advance innovation science
  • Specialties include physicians, nurses, dentists, dieticians, scientists, veterinarians, and more.
  • The USPHS Commissioned Corps has a history that dates back over two centuries. On July 16, 1798, the Fifth Congress passed an Act, signed by President John Adams, providing for the care and medical treatment of merchant seamen and thus began the story of the Public Health Service.

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