Federal officials will send the Iowa Department of Public Health just over 16-million dollars to fund the implementation of the department’s terrorist response plan. Mary Jones oversees the disaster operations division of the health department, and says the bulk of the money will help build up the local and state public health infrastructure. She says that includes equipment, supplies, planning, enhanced disease surveillance and communications capability. She says that will allow them to be better prepared to respond to public health emergencies. Those programs will take just over 10-million dollars with the rest of the federal grant will focus on health care services. She says those funds are focused on hospitals and emergency medical services to enhance their capability to respond to medical emergencies. This is the second federal grant for the program. Jones says last year they worked with local and state agencies to put together a plan for responding to terrorist incidents, or other disasters. This year they’ll hand out grants to the agencies to implement the plans. She says they have a formula to provide base fees for communities and they also have six designated regions that get funds. Jones says this year they’ll see how well their planning has worked. She says they’ll actually put the plans into action and do drills to see how well they work and if they need to make changes. Jones says this planning will help the state whether there’s a terrorist incident or not. She says they’re building on local infrastructures to build up what already exists so it can be sustained in the future. The Iowa award is part of nearly one-and-a-half billion dollars awarded nationally to states, territories, and cities to strengthen their capacity to respond to terrorist events and other public health emergencies.
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