What is the federal Hospital Preparedness Program?

The Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 transferred the National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program (NBHPP) from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The focus of the program is now all-hazards preparedness from the original focus on bioterrorism.

The purpose of the ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) is to enhance the ability of hospitals and health care systems to prepare for and respond to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. Program priority areas include interoperable communication systems, National Incident Medical System compliance and training, bed tracking, personnel management, mass fatality management planning and hospital evacuation and shelter in place planning. During the past five years HPP funds have also improved medical surge capacity and resources, decontamination capabilities, isolation capacity, pharmaceutical supplies, training, education, drills and exercises.

Hospitals, outpatient facilities, health centers, poison control centers, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and other healthcare partners work with the appropriate state or local health department to acquire funding and improve healthcare system preparedness through this program. Funding is distributed directly to the Health Department of the State or political subdivision of a State (cities and counties are considered political subdivisions of States).

The HPP supports priorities established by the National Preparedness Goal established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005. The Goal guides entities at all levels of government in the development and maintenance of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from major events, including Incidents of National Significance. Additionally, the Goal will assist entities at all levels of government in the development and maintenance of the capabilities to identify, prioritize and protect critical infrastructure.