Bioterrorism: Public Health and Medical Preparedness, Statement of Janet Heinrich, Director, Health Care--Public Health Issues, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Public Health, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, United States Senate   [open pdf - 1MB]

Twenty Federal departments and agencies have been identified as playing a role in responding to (and preparing for) the public health and medical consequences of a bioterrorist attack. The agencies have engaged in a number of efforts to coordinate activities, such as interagency work groups, on a formal and informal basis. Preparedness activities include (1) increasing federal, state, and local response capabilities; (2) developing response teams; (3) increasing the availability of medical treatments; (4) participating in and sponsoring exercises; (5) aiding victims; and (6) providing support at special events, such as presidential inaugurations and Olympic games. The US General Accounting Office (GAO) has found, however, that the coordination of Federal terrorism research, preparedness, and response programs is fragmented, which raises concern about the ability of states and localities to respond to a bioterrorist attack. Issues include poor state and local planning and the lack of hospital participation in training on terrorism and emergency response planning. This report summarizes the September 2001 report (GAO-01-915).

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