LAS VEGAS--Mobile Satellite Ventures announced during IWCE 2004 that the Connecticut Department of Public Health [CT-DPH] has deployed a satellite-based emergency communications system that utilizes the company's dispatch radio capability.

The system, dubbed "MEDSAT," connects the health department's command center to 32 hospitals in the state, as well as the State of Connecticut Emergency Operations Center and the Connecticut Hospital Association. The system was established because of concerns about bioterrorism; two years ago, the CT-DPH was forced to respond to an anthrax event. MEDSAT is funded through a state CDC Public Health Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response grant and is designed to provide coordinated public-health communications in the event of a bioterrorism event or other health emergency.

"The system allows ... a backup system that will help ensure the ability to communicate critical messages in what may be the greatest time of need," said Scott Palmer, emergency communications manager at Hartford Hospital, the state's largest medical center, in a statement. "The State of Connecticut is covered."

Kerry Flaherty, director of the State office of Emergency Management, believes the system will enhance interoperable communications across the state. "Being able to bring everyone together over one channel securely and reliably is not something we currently have the ability to do with cellular or traditional radio communications," Flaherty said in a statement.