Despite struggling with critical components of a federal emergency-preparedness plan, state officials said that, by and large, they have met key measures to help them mitigate a mass-casualty event, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
The report, based on a review of state preparedness documents and interviews with 20 state emergency preparedness officials, found that many of the states had met three out of four federal requirements to plan for an emergency, including the development of a bed reporting system, identifying alternate-care sites and creating an electronic database of healthcare volunteers.
But a fourth recommendation has many more of them stumped. The GAO said that only seven of 20 state officials said that they had begun to plan for altered standards of medical care, primarily because of a variety of medical, ethical and legal issues involved.
Other officials said that they had struggled with some of the more general requirements such as calculating staffing levels, or worried about reimbursement for medical services at alternate care sites.
Government officials have awarded states about $2.2 billion in preparedness funds, the GAO said. -- by Matthew DoBias
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