The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded more than $971 million to continue improving preparedness and health outcomes for a wide range of public health threats within every state, eight U.S. territories, and four of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.
“Healthcare and public health systems that are prepared to respond successfully to emergencies and recover quickly from all hazards are also able to deliver services more effectively and efficiently every day,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “Having systems in place to provide better treatment for disaster survivors and improved public health for our communities also leads to better health outcomes on a day-to-day basis.”
The funding awards included a total of approximately $352 million awarded for the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) cooperative agreement and more than $619 million awarded for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement.
Administered by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), HPP funding supports preparedness for health care systems, health care coalitions, and health care organizations. HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administers PHEP funding to support the preparedness of state, local, and territorial public health systems.
HPP and PHEP funding helps recipients build and sustain public health and health care preparedness capabilities outlined in ASPR’s Healthcare Preparedness Capabilities: National Guidance for Healthcare System Preparedness (PDF – 902 KB) and in CDC’s Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning. These documents establish standards for protecting human health and national health security.
For the first time, the HPP and PHEP funds are being awarded jointly, encouraging cooperation between the nation’s health care and public health systems. This change follows a year-long effort by ASPR and CDC to align the two federal preparedness programs. These programs represent critical sources of funding and support for public health and health care preparedness systems.
Improved coordination among federal emergency preparedness programs is a high priority of HHS and other federal entities, as well as for HPP and PHEP awardees. In December 2010, ASPR, CDC, and other federal partners began developing strategies to better align grants with public health and health care preparedness components.
“State and local agencies have made tremendous progress over the past decade in building and sustaining public health and health care preparedness capabilities,” Dr. Lurie said. "The integration fostered by HPP and PHEP alignment is important in streamlining and strengthening the day-to-day relationships and cross-sector cooperation that are critical to achieving a resilient health system ready to face any health hazard and capable of providing the affordable, high-quality daily care that all Americans deserve.”
With aligned HPP and PHEP cooperative agreement programs, states and communities can more easily, efficiently, and effectively conduct joint planning, exercising, and program operations. These activities are vital in preparing communities to respond and recover from emergencies and help communities manage health care and public health on a daily basis.