HHS provides funds for hospital bioterror preparedness

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that it will provide a total of $390.5 million this month to help hospitals nationwide to strengthen medical capabilities.

The grants will increase the ability of hospitals and healthcare facilities to respond to the public health and medical impacts of any emergency, including bioterrorist attacks, natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

All states, including major metropolitan cities like Los Angeles and New York, will receive a portion of the funds through the federal Hospital Preparedness Program.

Specific goals of these funds will be to improve hospital communication systems, develop more reliable systems to track available hospital beds and to provide advance registration for volunteer health professionals. The money will also go towards funding processes for fatality management and hospital evacuations.

The Hospital Preparedness Program enhances the ability of hospitals and health care systems to prepare for and respond to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.

During the past five years, HPP funds have also improved bed and personnel surge capacity, decontamination capabilities, isolation capacity, pharmaceutical supplies, training, education, drills and exercises.

Hospitals, outpatient facilities, health centers, poison control centers, EMS and other healthcare partners work with the appropriate state or local health department to acquire funding and develop healthcare system preparedness through this program.