HHS awards more than $840 million to emergency preparedness programs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday that the Department of Health and Human Services awarded more than $840 million to improve the emergency preparedness of state and local public health.

The funds, which are distributed through the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program, seek to bolster health care systems to protect health and save lives during disasters.

"Community and state preparedness is essential to the health security of all Americans," Nicole Lurie, the CDC's assistant secretary for preparedness and response (ASPR), said. "Events in the last few years have demonstrated how critical it is for health systems across the country to be ready and able to respond quickly and effectively."

HHS awarded $228.5 million for HPP and $611.75 million for PHEP for fiscal year 2014.

The CDC said HPP and PHEP represent critical sources of funding and support for U.S. healthcare and public health systems. The programs provide resources for effective response to CBRN events, natural disasters or infectious disease outbreaks.

The ASPR administers HPP funding, which supports building sustainable community healthcare coalitions that collaborate on emergency planning and share resources during disasters. The CDC administers PHEP funding, which is used to advance public health preparedness and response capabilities at the local and state levels.

PHEP and HPP were re-authorized in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013.