Budget cuts threaten emergency preparedness programs

Emergency Management Alert, December 16, 2008

As if you haven’t heard enough about the economy forcing businesses around the country to tighten finances, here’s another piece of news.

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released its sixth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism this month. The report concludes that while the country has made progress to prepare for emergencies like disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism, those programs could face hefty budget cuts due to the economic climate.

The report shows that federal funding has been cut more than 25% since the 2005 fiscal year. States are no longer receiving aid for pandemic flu preparedness despite increased responsibilities and according to the Center on Budget and Policy and Priorities, 33 states had cuts in their 2009 budgets and 16 states are already projecting shortfalls to their 2010 budgets.

Surge capacity and vaccination distribution are two other areas the report found to be suffering because of decreased funding.

To read the full report, click here.

For additional commentary on the report, go to OSHA Healthcare Advisor. This week’s featured blog post analyzes the report’s findings and includes a poll question that asks what area of your facility is facing cuts in 2009.


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