HHS Announces $896.7 Million in Funding to States for Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced that the department has provided another $896.7 million to the states, territories, and four metropolitan areas to improve and sustain their ability to respond to public health emergencies.

"The funding represents another step in our nation's effort to increase our state and local public health preparedness and emergency response capabilities," Leavitt said. "It allows state, local, territorial, and tribal public health jurisdictions to build upon preparedness gains that have been made over the past five years of federal funding."

HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is coordinating the funding to be used for preparedness and response to all-hazards public health emergencies including terrorism, pandemic influenza, and other naturally occurring public health emergencies.

The funding includes:

-- $175 million for pandemic influenza preparedness to assist public health departments in their pandemic influenza planning efforts.

-- $57.3 million to support the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI). CRI is designed to ensure that selected cities provide oral medications during a public health emergency to 100 percent of their affected populations.

-- $35 million to improve the early detection, surveillance, and investigative capabilities of poison control centers to provide information to healthcare providers and the public to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events.

 -- $5.4 million is specifically allocated for states bordering Mexico and Canada (including the Great Lakes states) for the development and implementation of a program to provide effective detection, investigation, and reporting of urgent infectious disease cases in the three nations' shared border regions.

Today's announcement is in addition to the $430 million made available late last month to strengthen the ability of hospitals and other healthcare facilities to respond to bioterror attacks, infectious diseases, and natural disasters that may cause mass casualties.

Since 2002, HHS made more than $7 billion in funding for preparedness- related programs available to the states, territories, and four metropolitan areas through the CDC, the Health Resources Services Administration and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services