Report Finds Economic Crisis Hurting U.S.
Food Safety Preparedness
Source of Article:† http://www.marlerblog.com/
Trust for Americaís
Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today released the sixth annual
Ready or Not?
Protecting the Publicís Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism
Report, which finds that progress made to better protect the country from
disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism is now at risk, due to
budget cuts and the economic crisis. In addition, the report concludes that
major gaps remain in many critical areas of preparedness, including surge
capacity, rapid disease detection, and food safety.
According to the report, Americaís
food safety system has not been fundamentally modernized in more than 100
years.. Twenty states and D.C. did not meet or exceed
the national average rate for being able to identify the pathogens
responsible for foodborne disease outbreaks in
The report also offers a series of recommendations for improving
* Restoring Full Funding. At a minimum, federal, state, and local funding
for public health emergency preparedness capabilities should be restored to
FY 2005 levels.
* Strengthening Leadership and Accountability. The next administration must
clarify the public health emergency preparedness roles and responsibilities
at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of
* Enhancing Surge Capacity and the Public Health Workforce. Federal, state,
and local governments and health care providers must better address altered
standards of care, alternative care sites, legal concerns to protect
community assistance and surge workforce issues.
* Modernizing Technology and Equipment. Communications and surveillance
systems and laboratories need increased resources for modernization.
* Improving Community Engagement. Additional measures must be taken to engage
communities in emergency planning and to improve protections for at-risk
* Incorporating Preparedness into Health Care Reform and Creating an Emergency
Health Benefit. This is needed to contain the spread of disease by providing
care to the uninsured and underinsured Americans during major disasters and