Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt yesterday announced that the department has made available nearly $1.1 billion to continue assisting public health departments, hospitals and other health care organizations to strengthen their ability to respond to public health and medical emergencies as a result of a terrorism attack or naturally occurring event.
"States and local communities need to be supported because they are the front lines of response in a health emergency," Leavitt said. "These funds will continue to enhance community readiness by increasing the capabilities of health departments, hospitals and health care delivery systems to respond to any public health emergency."
The HHS funding is awarded via two separate but interrelated cooperative agreements. HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing a total of $704.8 million in funding to health departments in states, territories and metro areas of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles County and Washington, D.C., through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement. The HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is also awarding $398 million through the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP).
The CDC-provided funds are intended to upgrade public health departments' preparedness and response to all hazards public health emergencies including terrorism, as well as pandemic influenza and other naturally occurring emergencies.
These funds will be used to meet goals that include:
The ASPR-awarded funds are being provided to states, territories and the metro areas of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles County and Washington, D.C. These funds will be used to improve the readiness of hospitals and other health care organizations in their jurisdictions. The goal is to strengthen medical surge capability across the nation. Recipients will use the funds to finalize development or improve:
The provisions of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) provide accountability of the use of the HPP and PHEP funds. These funds can be withheld from awardees if they fail to meet established state level performance measures. HHS plans to begin implementing these provisions this year.