States to share $100 million for pandemic planning

Jan 12, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government today announced the release of $100 million appropriated by Congress recently to help states prepare for a potential influenza pandemic.

The money is the first installment of $350 million included in the $3.8 billion emergency appropriation for pandemic preparedness that Congress passed in late December, said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Leavitt has been stressing the message that state and local governments must take the lead in dealing with a pandemic at ground level, and he did so again in announcing the funding. "Pandemics happen globally but must be managed at the state and local level, and these funds will help communities meet that responsibility," he said in a news release.

The $100 million will be divided among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles County, and the seven US territories. Each state will get $500,000 plus an additional amount based on population.

The state shares range from $622,102 for Wyoming to about $6.7 million for California, according to the HHS release.

"The remaining $250 million from the appropriation will be awarded later this year in accord with guidance that will require progress and performance," HHS said.

The agency said states and cities will use the money to step up their planning and to conduct drills to test the plans. "The focus is on practical, community-based procedures that could prevent or delay the spread of pandemic influenza, and help to reduce the burden of illness communities would contend with during an outbreak," the statement said.

Leavitt made the announcement today at pandemic planning "summit" meetings in Vermont and West Virginia. The meetings are part of a series of forums that are expected to be held in every state over the next few months.

The recent appropriation came in response to President Bush's request on Nov 1 for $7.1 billion for pandemic preparedness. That included $100 million for state and local preparedness, an amount that some public health organizations criticized as too small.

The pandemic planning money is in addition to federal funds to help state and local governments prepare for bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. For fiscal year 2006, Congress recently appropriated about $824 million for that purpose, according to the "CSTE Washington Report" of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

See also:

Jan 12 HHS news release
http://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2006pres/20060112.html

Dec 28, 2005, CIDRAP News story "Pandemic funding, liability shield clear Congress"

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