By Nick Johnson
Published July 5, 2012
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded South Carolina $15 million to improve health services and disaster preparedness.
The grant is part of a $971 million fund to continue improving preparedness and health outcomes for a wide range of public health issues across the country.
The funding included approximately $352 million for the Hospital Preparedness Program, or HPP, cooperative agreement. Of that, $5.3 million was awarded in South Carolina. The state also received $9.8 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness, or PHEP, cooperative agreement.
Administered by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, HPP funding supports preparedness for health care systems, health care coalitions and health care organizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administers PHEP funding to support the preparedness of state, local and territorial public health systems.
“Having systems in place to provide better treatment for disaster survivors and improved public health for our communities also leads to better health outcomes on a day-to-day basis,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
Lurie noted that as access to health care increases, more Americans are likely to seek care from primary care providers and health clinics to address these day-to-day health issues rather than visiting emergency departments. With fewer people seeking basic care in emergency rooms, hospitals can care for a greater number of patients during emergencies.
For the first time, the HPP and PHEP programs are being awarded funds jointly, encouraging cooperation between the nation’s health care and public health systems. The program alignment will allow states and communities to more effectively conduct joint planning, exercising and program operations, the agency said.