Center for American Progress

Sufficient Resources to Respond to Public Health Threats
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Sufficient Resources to Respond to Public Health Threats

The secretary of HHS should identify and make recommendations to Congress as necessary for sufficient funds to ensure that HHS has capacity and capability to undertake both short-term and long-term public health efforts.

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The secretary of health and human services should identify and make recommendations to Congress as necessary for sufficient funds to ensure that HHS has capacity and capability to undertake both short-term and long-term public health efforts. This is especially important for long-term monitoring and surveillance studies and evaluations since the incident will likely move from front page news and attention will ultimately be shifted to other more pressing events.

The source of the funding will depend on the event. In the case of natural or manmade disasters it will be solely a federal response, but where there are entities that cause the event they should be held responsible for providing adequate funding.

Providing the appropriate workforce to carry out the extra responsibility needs to also be considered. The Public Health Service Corps and the newly established Ready Reserve Corps are teams of public health professionals specially trained and available to mobilize to respond to public health crises. They could ensure that the Public Health Response Plan has sufficient “surge” workforce capacity, and these corps members can also offer short – to medium-term access to needed expertise.

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