U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Response Capacity During a Health Emergency: A Review of Selected Issues, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2001
34 pages
This report examines the role and readiness of the public health and health care systems.
As a global community, the United States is not prepared to respond to a bioterrorism attack, a mass casualty event, or a significant disease outbreak. The country's public health infrastructure is not prepared for the global health threats of the 21st century. The article claims that part of the reason State and local public health and health care systems, including emergency medical systems, are underprepared for a major health event is a lack of adequate, stable funding. The United States spends nearly 15 percent of its gross national product on health care, but only an estimated 1 percent of total health care expenditures goes to the public health system. Of this sum, an ever-increasing share is devoted to expensive, high-tech procedures and pharmaceuticals. Disproportionately little goes to primary and emergency care--the professionals and facilities that would be among the first responders in a bioterrorist attack or major infectious disease outbreak. The paper contains specific recommendations for Washington State's emergency preparedness planners. Notes, appendix