HHS grants to fund improvements to disaster response

The Department of Health and Human Services is awarding grants to demonstrate the potential effectiveness and viability of building regional disaster health response systems.

Nebraska Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital have each received $3 million grants to conduct initial pilot programs from the agency, because major disasters can surpass the level of medical care availability in a community.

Regional Disaster Health Response Systems are envisioned to work with local healthcare coalitions and trauma centers to create a tiered system of disaster care that integrates local medical response capabilities with emergency medical services, burn centers, pediatric hospitals, laboratories and outpatient services.

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“Our nation faces real and serious threats that represent a looming risk to healthcare delivery,” says Robert Kadlec, MD, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “The system draws on the existing healthcare infrastructure, pulling together private sector and federal resources in a way that has never been done.”

The pilot projects will develop partnerships for disaster health responses that support clinical specialty care, procedures for obtaining clinical excellence during a disaster, increased state and regional medical surge capacity, regional situational awareness such as the availability of beds, and development of metrics to test regional capabilities.

A total of 19 applicants were considered, and Nebraska Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital got the nod from experts representing associations, academia and federal agencies.

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