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Federal Funding for Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Local Health Departments

The National Association of County and City Health Officials has released a report, "Federal Funding for Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Implications and Ongoing Issues for Local Health Departments," (PDF, 20 pages) that describes the results of two surveys conducted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials that examine the local impact of changes in federal funding for public health preparedness. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, local health departments have significantly increased their capacity to prepare for and respond to emergencies with the support of funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some key findings:

  • Nineteen percent of LHDs feel that they are now "highly prepared" for an emergency; however, 77 percent of LHDs feel they have made improvements but more improvement is needed;
  • The average amounts of CDC funding that LHDs received for all-hazards preparedness and the Cities Readiness Initiative declined by 20 percent and 29 percent respectively between FY05 and FY06;
  • Due to cuts in their funding, 28 percent of LHDs reduced staff time on preparedness,27 percent were forced to delay the completion of preparedness plans, and 17 percent delayed or canceled workforce training;
  • Fifty-six percent of LHDs reported that CDC funding is not sufficient to meet their deliverables;
    LHDs' top three needs to meet preparedness deliverables are additional qualified staff, additional funding, and additional time to spend funds effectively; and
  • The three occupations most difficult to hire are emergency preparedness planners, epidemiologists, and nurses.