HHS funding will go to coordinate national medical response
| 06.08.2006 | 08:26:43 | Views: 2942 | ID:
June 8 '06: Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced Thursday new federal funding to states, territories and major urban areas to help with bioterrorism research and prevention. The funding, which will total close to $1.2 billion will be used "to improve infectious disease surveillance and investigation, enhance the preparedness of hospitals and the health care system to deal with large numbers of casualties, expand public health laboratory and communications capacities and improve connectivity between hospitals, and city, local and state health departments to enhance disease reporting," a press release announced. The new funding will be awarded through a cooperative effort with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta which will move funds toward a national, city-wide initiative designed to inoculate those living in urban areas to stop the spread of a pandemic disease.
"Improving our nation's response to public health emergencies is an important part of securing America," Leavitt said. "All emergency incidents - whether naturally occurring, accidental, or terrorist-induced - begin as local matters and with this program, states and communities will build on the preparedness gains they've made over the past four years."To confront the issue of state and local coordination with the federal government, the Department of Homeland Security and HHS will use the funding to push the National Response Plan and the Interim National Preparedness Goal, two programs begun to help exercise those response plans already in place while testing existing structures to "test capabilities and evaluate improvements." The CDC will work with the Cities Ready Initiative to "aid cities in increasing their capability to deliver medicines and medical supplies during a large-scale public health emergency such as a bioterrorism attack or a nuclear accident," the website read. Guidelines for how the CRI will coordinate those cities were created in the INPG and the NPG and those guidelines will be worked through a series of "table top" exercises and scenarios. Other programs aided by the new funding will include the Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance program which monitors disease outbreaks in Canada, Mexico and US border states. Additionally, HHS funding will go to helping hospitals manage surge capacity and mass casualty events through the HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program.
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