HHS will distribute $470.8 million in fiscal 2005 bioterror-preparedness funds to the Health Resources and Services Administration to improve hospital readiness and $862.8 million to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention to upgrade infectious-disease surveillance and response capabilities. HRSA's allocation is down $27.2 million from fiscal 2004. The city of New York, for example, will receive $12.3 million in fiscal 2005, compared with $12.9 million last year.
In other Washington news, a bill was introduced in the House to expand the acute-care bed limit for critical-access hospitals to 50 from 25 and give critical-access hospitals the option of receiving cost-based reimbursement for post-acute services. Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate in late April. Medicare pays 101% of cost for acute-care services at critical-access hospitals. About 1,000 hospitals have qualified for the program. -- by Joseph Mantone