Burr Hosts Roundtable on Improvements to Federal Medical Preparedness and Response

April 5, 2006

Washington, D.C. - At a Senate Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness roundtable, Senator Richard Burr today brought together experts to discuss the need for all-hazards medical preparedness and response, including bioterrorism and natural disasters such as bird flu or a major hurricane.

The roundtable, entitled All-Hazards Medical Preparedness and Response, addressed how to improve the federal medical response to disasters of all kinds and included representatives from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, and Veterans Affairs. Roundtable participants discussed how to better organize and train federal health care personnel to ensure a coordinated and rapid response in the event of an emergency. They also emphasized the importance of logistical support during a disaster and the need for strong private-public partnerships for a well coordinated response.

"An effective medical response to disasters requires pre-existing partnerships and coordination at federal, state, and local levels," Senator Burr said. "This partnership must be flexible to respond to all-hazards medical disasters with well-trained, well-equipped and rapidly deployable personnel."

"It is our responsibility at the federal level to support local and state medical capabilities, particularly if they get overwhelmed, by providing more personnel and logistical support to assist in caring for victims of disaster. It is important for state and local governments to have one point of contact during an emergency," Burr added.

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 will expire on September 30, 2006. This law enhanced our ability to detect bioterrorist attacks, strengthened the networks that link our health care providers with public health authorities and strengthened the ability of our health care system to increase care provided in an emergency. This roundtable discussion will help gather additional information for the Subcommittee's efforts to reauthorize this landmark legislation.

For more information, go to https://www.burr.senate.gov.

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