HHS funds $498 million for state bioterror preparedness

The Health and Human Services Department awarded $498 million to states and four major metropolitan areas to strengthen the ability of hospitals and other health care facilities to respond to bioterror attacks, infectious diseases and natural disasters that may cause mass casualties.

"These grants are an important addition to national security because hospitals play such a critical role in identifying and responding to a terrorist attack, an infectious disease outbreak and natural disasters," said HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson in announcing the funding Monday.

Health departments in states, territories and the metro areas will use the funds to increase coordination of disease reporting among hospitals and local and state health departments, enhance collaboration between public health and hospital-based labs, and enable the communications capabilities of these entities to work together, including purchasing communications equipment.

Of the large metro areas, New York City will receive $12.9 million and Washington, D.C., $2.9 million. HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon announce its latest round of state preparedness grants, estimated to be at least $844 million, HHS said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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