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Funding problems threaten US disaster preparedness
Date:1/9/2014

WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2013) The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City prompted large increases in government funding to help communities respond and recover after man-made and natural disasters. But, this funding has fallen considerably since the economic crisis in 2008. Furthermore, disaster funding distribution is deeply inefficient: huge cash infusions are disbursed right after a disaster, only to fall abruptly after interest wanes. These issues have exposed significant problems with our nation's preparedness for public health emergencies.

In a report published by the Institute of Medicine, authors Jesse Pines, M.D., director of the Office of Clinical Practice Innovation at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS); Seth Seabury, Ph.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC); and William Pilkington, DPA, of the Cabarrus Health Alliance, make seven recommendations to provide a road map to enhance the sustainability of preparedness efforts in the United States.

"With more limited government funding in the foreseeable future, the government needs to be smarter about how it spends its money on emergency preparedness in this country," said Seabury, who is also with the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at USC. "We need to know which communities are prepared and which aren't, when money is spent, and whether it's really making these communities better off in handling a disaster."

The authors make the following recommendations:

1. The federal government should develop and assess measures of emergency preparedness both at the community-level and across communities in the U.S.

2. Measures developed by the federal government should be used to conduct a nation-wide gap analysis of community preparedness.

3. Alternative ways of distributing funding should be considered
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Contact: Lisa Anderson
lisama2@gwu.edu
202-994-3121
George Washington University
Source:Eurekalert

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