WHITE HOUSE'S PLAN TO BOOST STATE BIOTERRORISM FUNDS 



about Epidemiology & the department

Epidemiology academic information

Epidemiology faculty

Epidemilogy resources

sites of interest to Epidemiology professionals



Last Updated

12 Nov 2002

Source: Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2002.

Special Report: Aftermath of Terror

White House's Plan for Bioterrorism Funds To Boost State, Local Public-Health System

By JILL CARROLL and JEANNE CUMMINGS
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration plans to significantly boost funding for homeland security, and outlined plans to beef up the nation's response to bioterrorism this year.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said his agency would spend the largest portion of the $2.9 billion bioterrorism funds -- $1.1 billion -- on updating state and local public-health systems. "This is a giant step forward," Mr. Thompson said, but he acknowledged more money will be needed for long-neglected city and state health departments.

After the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax attacks last fall, the Health and Human Services Department received an extra $2.6 billion to prepare and respond to bioterrorist attacks. The money was in addition to $342 million received as part of the normal budget process.

To get the money, states will have to draw up plans for using it and get those plans approved by the state governor and federal government. The plans likely will require future federal funding.

Last year's anthrax attacks pointed up the weaknesses in state and local public-health programs. They lacked medical personnel trained to recognize bioterrorism agents, and laboratories were overwhelmed by requests to test samples of suspected anthrax.

Another $1 billion will go toward buying small-pox vaccines, and the rest will be spent on bioterrorism preparedness at HHS for such things as expanded research on bioterrorism agents and food safety. In addition, the department has plans to build a communication system linking federal, state and local health departments.

About $135 million is earmarked for hospitals, few of which are capable of handling a surge of patients in a bioterrorism attack. Hospital groups had said they need about $11 billion to be fully prepared.

In a meeting with U.S. mayors, President Bush said his budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 calls for doubling homeland security spending to $37.7 billion. The president highlighted $3.5 billion that will be allocated to states to upgrade local police, fire and rescue agencies. Although the plan is designed to give states flexibility, $1 billion of it is earmarked for training the nation's nearly two million "first responders," and another $2 billion is for equipment upgrades.