One Billion Dollars Slated for Health Hazard Preparedness

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has allocated almost $1.1 billion to be made available to public health departments, hospitals and other health care organizations in order to help them better respond to public health and medical emergencies of a terrorist or naturally occurring nature.

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has allocated almost $1.1 billion to be made available to public health departments, hospitals and other health care organizations in order to help them better respond to public health and medical emergencies of a terrorist or naturally occurring nature.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responsible for allocating $704.8 million through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement, while the department's Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will award $398 million through the Hospital Preparedness Program.

The funding will be used to upgrade public health hazard response and preparedness within public health departments, such as integrating public and private facilities with other first responder systems, and will also be used to improve readiness at individual hospitals, including communications systems, advance registration of volunteer health professionals, hospital bed availability tracking, and processes for hospital evacuations and fatality management.

"States and local communities need to be supported because they are the front lines of response in a health emergency," said Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in a statement. "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."

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