Federal Grants Bring New Cash to Local Emergency-Response Efforts

Police officers practice subduing an individual playing the part of an anthrax victim as part of a bioterrorism drill in Tuscon, Ariz., in 2002. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department is awarding $840 million in new grants to benefit state and local emergency-response programs.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
July 2, 2014, 8:35 a.m.

State and loc­al ef­forts to im­prove pub­lic-health re­sponses to a po­ten­tial un­con­ven­tion­al at­tack on U.S. soil are get­ting an­oth­er in­fu­sion of fed­er­al fund­ing.

The U.S. Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment an­nounced on Tues­day that it was award­ing more than $840 mil­lion in fisc­al 2014 grants to state and com­munity pub­lic-health pro­grams that could be called on in the event of a nat­ur­ally oc­cur­ring dis­ease epi­dem­ic, or a bio­lo­gic­al, chem­ic­al or nuc­le­ar at­tack.

“Com­munity and state pre­pared­ness is es­sen­tial to the health se­cur­ity of all Amer­ic­ans,” Nicole Lurie, HHS as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for pre­pared­ness and re­sponse, said in provided re­marks. “Events in the last few years have demon­strated how crit­ic­al it is for health sys­tems across the coun­try to be ready and able to re­spond quickly and ef­fect­ively.”

The grants are be­ing dis­persed through two dif­fer­ent pro­grams: the Pub­lic Health Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness ini­ti­at­ive, which sup­ports ef­forts by labor­at­or­ies and re­search­ers to con­tain dis­ease out­breaks, and the Hos­pit­al Pre­pared­ness Pro­gram, which works to im­prove co­ordin­a­tion among dif­fer­ent med­ic­al cen­ters for re­spond­ing to pos­sible large-scale emer­gen­cies.

The hos­pit­al-read­i­ness ef­fort is get­ting $228.5 mil­lion for the cur­rent fisc­al year. In com­par­is­on, the ini­ti­at­ive re­ceived $332 mil­lion in fisc­al 2013 and $352 mil­lion in fisc­al 2012, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­port­ing. The Pub­lic Health Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness pro­gram is to re­ceive nearly $612 mil­lion in fisc­al 2014. That com­pares to $584 mil­lion in fisc­al 2013 and $619 mil­lion in fisc­al 2012.

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