Report: U.S. Hospitals Widely Unprepared To Handle Major Disaster
Hospitals and health care systems in California and nationwide are unprepared to handle a major disaster as federal funding lags and gaps persist in planning and communications, according to a report released Tuesday by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The report found that hospitals have seen funding decline in recent years, despite $8 billion in federal emergency-preparedness money. Researchers also found that large states more vulnerable to disasters receive a disproportionately smaller share of funding than less-populous states.
Despite years of disaster planning since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, planning and communications gaps still are evident between hospitals and local emergency-response agencies, according to the report.
The report also found that private-practice physicians often are excluded from disaster plans that focus on hospitals and public health workers.
Jon Cohen, managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers' health advisory services, said the report seeks to urge health care systems to focus more on disaster planning, and federal and state governments to provide more resources for such planning.
According to the report, California received $143.2 million in hospital disaster-preparedness funding from the federal government in 2007, more than any other state. However, the state ranked 44th in funding on a per capita basis (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/31).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.