HHS Grants to Bolster Disaster Preparedness for Healthcare, Public Health

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded more than $916 million to continue improving preparedness and health outcomes for a wide range of public health threats within every state, eight U.S. territories, and four of the nations largest metropolitan areas.

Recent events underscore the critical role these preparedness programs play in ensuring our healthcare and public health systems are poised to respond successfully to emergencies and recover quickly from events like Hurricane Sandy, large explosions such the chemical plant in Texas, or terrorist attacks like the Boston Marathon bombings in April, says Nicole Lurie, MD, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response.

Ali Khan, MD, director of HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office for Public Health Preparedness and Response, agrees. Already in 2013, local and state health agencies have responded to eight foodborne outbreaks, two new global diseases, and 37 disaster and emergency declarations, a clear indication of the breadth of threats that public health departments must be capable of responding to, he says.

The fiscal year 2013 funding to support healthcare and public health preparedness programs included approximately $332 million awarded for the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) cooperative agreement and more than $584 million awarded for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement.

Administered by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), HPP funding supports preparedness for health care systems, organizations and coalitions. HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administers PHEP funding to strengthen national health security and advance state, local, and territorial preparedness and response capabilities.

Requirements of the HPP and PHEP cooperative agreements are complementary and aligned to minimize administrative tasks for state health departments. The programs encourage healthcare entities and state and local public health departments to work collaboratively with other federal health and preparedness programs in their jurisdictions to maximize resources and prevent duplicative efforts. Such coordination of activities with emergency management and homeland security programs supports whole community planning to improve national preparedness efforts.

To learn more about HPP and PHEP including grant awards to individual states, territories or localities, visit www.phe.gov/hpp and http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/coopagreement.htm.