On August 16, 2012, HHS announced in a press release that it has awarded nearly $49 million to health departments in all 50 states, and certain cities, regions and territories to support the prevention, monitoring and response to infectious diseases. The funding is authorized in part by the Affordable Care Act, and is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Disease Cooperative Agreement (ELC). The ELC program, which began in 1995, provides support for infectious disease infrastructure in all 50 states, six local health departments (the District of Columbia, New York City, Los Angeles County, Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston), Puerto Rico and the Republic of Palau.
The awarded money will be used by health departments to hire and train new staff; develop and implement prevention strategies; invest in more efficient IT systems, including the use of electronic health records; and purchase laboratory equipment and supplies. According to the press release, these awards represent the third year of such funding under the Affordable Care Act. Of the $48.8 million in awards, says HHS, $45.4 million comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, and is broken down as follows:
- $35.3 million for epidemiology-related capacity;
- $9.3 million for healthcare-associated infections; and
- $0.8 million for immunization.
States, cities, regions and territories will receive an additional $3.4 million in annual appropriations.
Click here to read the HHS press release.