Guidelines For Bioterrorism Funding Announced
Guidelines have been released for the department’s $1.4 billion bioterrorism cooperative agreement program for states, territories and municipalities. The program will help state and local governments upgrade public health infrastructure and health care systems to better prepare for and respond to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.
The Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness (ASPHEP) oversees and coordinates these cooperative agreements, which are awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). CDC administers the public health preparedness awards totaling $870 million while HRSA funds the hospital preparedness cooperative agreements totaling $498 million.
“Each year we are making strides in improving the readiness of the public health departments and the health care systems across the country. We listened to our state and local partners and are providing more comprehensive guidelines for this year’s awards,” Acting ASPHEP Jerome Hauer said. “This year we are also emphasizing the coordination and blending of CDC and HRSA funded efforts by asking states to integrate their public health and their health care system activities.”
CDC’s guidance this year focuses on seven areas that include preparedness planning and readiness assessment, surveillance and epidemiology, laboratory capacity for handling biologic agents, laboratory capacity for handling chemical agents, health alert network and information technology, communicating health risks and health information dissemination, and education and training. Interspersed throughout these focus areas are activities related to smallpox preparedness.
“We know every bioterrorism event will occur at the local level and the capacity to respond must be present at both the state and local levels,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “We want to ensure meaningful collaboration between state and local public health officials as these investments are made.”
The HRSA guidelines for their cooperative agreements outline six priority areas. The areas include governance, regional surge capacity to handle terrorism victims, emergency medical services, hospital linkages to public health departments, education and preparedness training, and terrorism preparedness exercises.
“Our primary focus is to further develop, enhance and upgrade the capacity of regional health care systems to surge up to deal with mass casualties,” said HRSA Administration Betty Duke. “The integration of the health care system plans with the public health department plans to respond to terrorism and major health emergencies will be critical.”