Emergency readiness in peril
Report: State, federal budget cutbacks can hurt response
December 10, 2008
by Thomas Frank
WASHINGTON -- The economic crisis is jeopardizing the nation's ability to handle public-health emergencies and possible bioterrorist attacks, according to government leaders and a new report.
Federal and state governments are cutting programs that help communities respond to disease outbreaks, natural disasters and bioterrorism incidents, and that "could lead to a disaster for the nation's disaster preparedness," a report released Tuesday warns.
"The economic crisis could result in a serious rollback of the progress we've made since Sept. 11," 2001, said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health, a non-partisan research group. Federal funds are down, 11 states have already cut public-health budgets, and more could follow as the economic crisis worsens.
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