Although HHS has been working since 1999 to improve the nation's bioterrorism preparedness, the events of last fall underscored the need for a more rapid, focused response by hospitals and the nation's public health system in the event of future emergencies. A year after the violence of Sept. 11 and still unresolved anthrax cases, a new public health infrastructure is slowly taking shape.
Just last week, the 21-member national Council on Public Health Preparedness, formed last October by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson during the anthrax attacks, held its first meeting in Washington (See story in the Week in Healthcare section).
And as the industry looks to cities such as New York and Washington to serve as models of public health readiness for future medical catastrophes, Washington state-on the opposite side of the country-has already played a lead role in setting the bar for hospital preparedness.
To view this story by Modern Healthcare reporter Julie Piotrowski, see the Current Issue section of modernhealthcare.com.