Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response
Events such as the anthrax attacks on U.S. soil, the 2009 influenza pandemic, the failed car bomb attempt in New York City, and the spread of the 2012 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome epidemic have raised concerns that the nation is vulnerable to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats and emerging infectious diseases.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) leads federal efforts to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, working with the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal, state, and local entities. HHS can strengthen emergency preparedness and response by:
- Ensuring clear priorities are periodically reset and communicated for developing and acquiring medical countermeasures, such as drugs and vaccines, to respond to CBRN agents, emerging infectious diseases, and pandemic influenza.
- Improving countermeasure development, such as establishing facilities to rapidly produce vaccines and countermeasures in an emergency; establishing the use of strategic investors to help fund development of new countermeasures; and improving regulatory requirements for their use.
- Improving planning for public health emergencies and coordination between federal departments and state and local entities involved in public health emergency response.
- Ensuring that the nation’s health care systems have “surge capacity”—the ability to respond to mass casualty events and adequately care for a sudden influx of patients with common or unusual medical needs.
GAO-14-90: Published: Dec 27, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 27, 2013.
GAO-13-438: Published: Apr 30, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2013.
GAO-11-632: Published: Jun 27, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2011.
GAO-11-606: Published: Jun 21, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2011.
GAO-11-567T: Published: Apr 13, 2011. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 2011.
GAO-16-560T: Published: Apr 12, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 2016.
GAO-15-20: Published: Dec 4, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 2014.
GAO-14-329: Published: Mar 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2014.
GAO-14-99R: Published: Nov 26, 2013. Publicly Released: Nov 26, 2013.
GAO-13-637T: Published: Jun 25, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2013.
GAO-13-278: Published: Mar 22, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 2013.
GAO-13-456T: Published: Mar 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2013.
GAO-13-243: Published: Mar 11, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2013.
GAO-12-748: Published: Jul 25, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2012.
GAO-11-51R: Published: Oct 29, 2010. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2010.