Public Health Preparedness Jeopardized by Budget Cuts

HealthLeaders Media Staff , December 20, 2010

Ongoing gaps in preparedness include basic infrastructure and funding, biosurveillance, maintaining an adequate and expertly trained workforce, developing and manufacturing vaccines and medicines, surge capacity for providing care in major emergencies, and helping communities cope with and recover from emergencies.

Technology is another concern. Seven states currently cannot currently share data electronically with healthcare providers, and 10 lack an electronic syndromic surveillance system that can report and exchange information, the report finds.

Laura Segal, study coauthor and the Trust for America's Health's director of public affairs, expects to see state and federal leaders "trying to figure out how to continue to fund priorities with fewer resources," she said in an interview. "We are hopeful policymakers will see the importance of preparedness funding and protect support for these programs."

Congress may consider reauthorization of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act, which, she explains, "would provide the opportunity to update the statute to address ongoing challenges for preparedness–including maintaining a sustained funding stream for preparedness, modernizing technologies so they match current state-of-the-art standards, and maintaining a trained workforce."

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