Emergency Preparedness & Response
Cities are on the front lines of addressing public health emergencies, but they are often last in line to receive such funding.
Over the past decade, local health departments have seen dramatic fluctuations in funding levels, impeding their ability to respond to emergency events like infectious disease outbreaks or severe weather events. Most local health departments are at a unique funding disadvantage, as with the exception of a few localities, funding for city and county health departments flows through state agencies, which disperse the majority of federal health funds to communities.
The Coalition's Work
The BCHC supports local health departments as they prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) and Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) are critical elements in the United States’ emergency preparedness system. Cuts to these programs translate to an underprepared public health workforce and gaps in equipment and other resources.
Too often, federal funds are provided on a case-by-case basis after disaster has struck, leaving health departments to play catch up once federal emergency dollars flow. The nation’s past brushes with Ebola and measles represent the new normal: international travel and business will constantly reintroduce viruses from abroad, and our public health system needs to be at full capacity to identify, contain, and prevent threats.
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Click here to see how New York City prepares for public health disasters before they strike.