As described by the Pew Center’s Stateline, a new report blames lack of preparedness for public health emergencies on the federal government’s reduction of disaster preparedness funds to states and localities. According to Stateline,
The report, “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases Disasters and Bioterrorism,” faulted the federal government for reducing disaster preparedness funds for states and localities by one-fourth from levels of 2005.
“The 25 percent cut in federal support to protect Americans from diseases, disasters and bioterrorism is already hurting state response capabilities,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health , which along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the report.
In Maryland, state core funding to local health departments has been cut by approximately 45% since FY2008. Although federal H1N1 funding helped accommodate some of these reductions, when those funds ran out, local health departments were forced to eliminate 449 regular and contractual positions statewide.
In the 2012 legislative session, the restoration of inflationary increases for Local Health Departments – $2.2 million in FY 14 and $3 million in FY 15 were included in the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act as offsets to the teacher pension shift.
For more information on local health department funding in Maryland, see our recent blog series,