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Tuesday, 19th February 2008

Health Care and Homeland Security: Crossroads of Emergency Response

Health Care and Homeland Security: Crossroads of Emergency Response
Source: The Heritage Foundation

Health care reform is again being seriously discussed. Rapidly rising costs, problems with access to care, and questions about quality of care have made this a major issue. At the same time, the post-9/11 and post-Hurricane Katrina world has focused significant attention on improving our medical preparedness and disaster response planning. However, discussions on one issue usually do not consider the other. Homeland security clearly has many areas that involve health care, from the public health infrastructure to health-related industrial capacity. And, of course, the homeland security community relies on the health care community to respond to any disaster involving illness or injury. Health care reform will be a massive undertaking involving standard information sys­tems, health promotion and prevention as well as acute care, access for all with an expanded emergency capacity, and the ability to "surge" hospital care. All of health care reform has homeland security implications, but emer­gency capability and response, hospital capacity, and public health are especially significant for both. Recognizing this, The Heritage Foundation, supported by the McCormick Tribune Foundation, convened leading health care and homeland security experts to discuss the precarious relationship between the two areas. This report, prepared with the assistance of Martin, Blanck & Associates, is the result of that conference and includes policy recommen­dations and additional references.


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