Lack of Funds Threatens U.S. Disaster Preparedness

A report by researchers from the George Washington University, the University of Southern California and the Cabarrus Health Alliance is offering recommendations for improving U.S. disaster preparedness for public health emergencies.

The recommendations are published in an article published on the George Washington University website.

According to the article, disaster funding distribution is deeply inefficient. Large cash infusions are disbursed immediately after a disaster, but they fall abruptly after interest dissipates.

Researchers responded to the issues they saw in the country’s preparedness for public health emergencies with their seven recommendations, listed in their report published by the Institute of Medicine.

Their seven recommendations are:

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 to ensure all communities have the ability to build and sustain local coalitions to support sufficient infrastructure.

4. When monies are released for projects, there should be clear metrics of grant effectiveness.

5. There should be better coordination at the federal level, including funding and grant guidance.

6. Local communities should build coalitions or use existing coalitions to build public-private partnerships with local hospitals and other businesses with a stake in preparedness.

7. Communities should be encouraged to engage in ways to finance local preparedness efforts.

One of the authors, Seth Seabury, Ph.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California explained the thought process behind the report.

“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.

“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.”

 

For more information, see the press release here: http://smhs.gwu.edu/news/funding-problems-threaten-us-disaster-preparedness