How disaster-ready are hospitals?

Much more so than in the past, but funding woes continue to be a problem, according to the seventh annual Trust for America's Health (TFAH) study on disaster preparedness and bioterrorism. Richard Hamburg, deputy director of TFAH, answers questions o

March 10, 2010
by Jeff Ferenc
Materials Management in Health Care

The release in December 2009 of the seventh annual Trust for America's Health (TFAH) study on the health care industry's ability to protect the public from diseases, disasters and bioterrorism illustrated a number of improvements in this nation's response capabilities. Many of these could be seen during the H1N1 outbreak, including an increase in the country's vaccine production capacity, upgraded laboratories and surveillance systems. As the study points out, however, the H1N1 outbreak also underscored the "existing gaps in public health preparedness." Decades of chronic underfunding of public health meant that many of the core systems that would have been invaluable to have in place during an emergency were not at-the-ready when H1N1 emerged, the study concluded. To get some deeper insights into the nearly 100-page report, we spoke recently with Richard Hamburg, deputy director of TFAH.

How did investments by states and the federal government in pandemic and public health preparedness over the past several years improve U.S. readiness for an influenza outbreak?

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