County Bioterrorism Preparedness Efforts Improve
Los Angeles County is taking many of the proper steps to prepare for a potential bioterrorist attack but needs to better justify its spending of federal grant money, according to a CDC report, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Times reported earlier this year that the county had spent at least $2 million in federal money on items "that were of questionable value."
The county has received about $110 million in federal funding for bioterrorism preparedness since 2002. CDC has not asked the county to return any of the money.
In a report released last month, CDC praised the county for working with other public agencies and private groups on preparedness projects, as well as for efforts to monitor emergency departments for unusual diseases or illnesses.
However, the agency said the county sometimes had misinterpreted federal spending and budget policies, a situation that "has resulted in delays and multiple efforts to correct information provided" and caused "major roadblocks to performance."
CDC senior adviser Donna Knutson said, "[W]e came to an understanding that in the future we would expect more details to be provided so that conversations and clarifications would occur before purchases are made." Knutson said CDC also recently told grant recipients that they should not use federal funding to purchase promotional items (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 7/12).