Hospitals will be among the beneficiaries of $498 million in HHS grants to help states and major metropolitan areas prepare for a bioterrorist attack or other disaster. The grants, administered by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration, are funded by the Hospital Preparedness Program, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to help providers deal with potentially large numbers of casualties and coordinate with agencies and health officials in the event of an attack or natural disaster. According to HHS, HRSA has provided $1.5 billion since 2001 to boost hospitals' preparedness, but critics have said the amount and availability of funds have been insufficient. California will receive the largest amount of funds announced today, $38.8 million. At deadline, HHS had not returned a call seeking how much of the total grant money will go to hospitals and when the funds, earmarked for fiscal 2004, will be distributed. -- by Jeff Tieman
HHS announces $498 million in preparedness grants
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