HHS Provides $430 Million to States to Enhance Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies

"These grants are an important addition to national security because our hospitals and other health care facilities play such a critical role in responding to a terrorist attack, an infectious disease outbreak, and natural disasters."

by / July 2, 2007

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced a total of $430 million in awards to states, territories and four major metropolitan areas to strengthen the ability of hospitals and other health care facilities to respond to bioterror attacks, infectious diseases, and natural disasters that may cause mass casualties.

"These grants are an important addition to national security because our hospitals and other health care facilities play such a critical role in responding to a terrorist attack, an infectious disease outbreak, and natural disasters," Leavitt said. "States and communities can use these funds to improve emergency care during a health crisis."

Health departments in the states, territories and metro areas of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles County and Washington, D.C. receiving the federal funds will use them to improve the readiness of hospitals and other health care facilities in their jurisdictions. The goal is to strengthen medical surge capability across the nation. Recipients will use the funds develop or improve:

  • interoperable communications,
  • systems to track available hospital beds,
  • advance registration of volunteer health professionals, and
  • planning for both fatality management and hospital evacuations.

Congress transferred oversight of the grant program from the Health Resources and Services Administration to the new HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response with passage of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006.

Also new for this year is the $15 million Healthcare Facilities Partnership Program. Congress asked HHS to award competitive grants or cooperative agreements to eligible health care partnerships to enhance community and hospital preparedness for public health emergencies. The $15 million will be awarded through a competitive process resulting in 6-30 cooperative agreement awards for regional partnerships that may range from $500,000 - $2.5 million.

"The goal of the new program is to develop innovative and creative projects that can be replicated across the country," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response RADM Craig Vanderwagen, MD, USPHS. "These partnerships will require close coordination among health officials from state, local and private sectors."