California to Receive Additional $56.6M from HHS for Bioterrorism Preparedness
HHS yesterday announced that California will receive an additional $56.6 million to help improve the state's bioterrorism preparedness as part of a $1.1 billion program announced in January, the Sacramento Bee reports. The state received an initial installment of about $14 million from HHS earlier this year (Whitney, Sacramento Bee, 6/7). HHS yesterday approved a number of comprehensive state plans on bioterrorism preparedness -- including California's -- allowing states, territories and municipalities to receive the remainder of their shares of federal bioterrorism funds. In January, President Bush signed into law a bill that appropriated $1.1 billion for bioterrorism preparedness efforts in states, territories, the District of Columbia, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City (HHS release, 6/6). HHS at the time released $200 million of the funds, withholding the "bulk of the money" until the states, territories and municipalities submitted "detailed preparedness plans" on how they would "respond to a bioterrorism event and other outbreaks of infectious disease" and bolster "core public health capacities" (California Healthline, 1/25). The state plans to spend $60.8 million of the $71 million to improve the public health system and $9.9 million to coordinate hospital response in the event of a bioterrorist attack. George Vinson, special adviser on security to Gov. Gray Davis (D), said that the funds would help the state address the expected "surge in ... emergency medical needs and health needs" in a bioterrorist attack. He added, "We have to handle that surge. The way the systems are designed, (they) can't stand much of a surge, if any surge at all" (Sacramento Bee, 6/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.