Further improvements need to be made in monitoring the progress of federal emergency-response programs, the Government Accountability Office reported.
In analyzing the various public health and hospital emergency-response preparedness programs, the GAO found that HHS lacked standards to compare data across recipients to measure collective progress, compare progress across recipients programs, or provide consistent feedback to recipients.
The report indicates that currently we have no way of knowing which hospital is up to the task. It is critical to our security that our health systems have the tools they need to respond to any and all emergencies including bioterrorist events, natural disasters or an influenza pandemic, said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, who requested the report along with a bipartisan group of representatives and senators.
HHS plans to provide a snapshot of the progress recipients have made in building emergency-readiness capacity by the end of this year, the GAO reported. -- by Jennifer Lubell