Draft report: California health system in disarray
Sunday, March 23, 2003 Posted: 6:58 AM EST (1158 GMT)
SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- California's public health system is in such disarray that residents are threatened as much by something like a flu epidemic as they are by a bioterrorism attack, according to a report due next month.
An independent commission set out to gauge the state's bioterrorism preparedness found that the system can't so much as track drug-resistant tuberculosis or contaminated fruit juice.
In the report, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy blamed the problems on a lack of funds and coordination among state agencies.
The 13-member panel called for the creation of a state public health department, a confidential disease-reporting system and the tracking and treatment of diseases by deputized, uniformed officers.
Though Gov. Gray Davis has not seen the report, one of his deputies disputed the findings.
"There's no question that the state [public health system] is better prepared than we were a year ago and progress is being made," Daniel Zingale said.
A key state health official backed up Zingale, noting a $100 million in federal assistance received since the September 11, 2001, attacks enabled the state to add doctors, nurses and public health advisers.
"There have been hundreds of additional hires at the city and county level using these funds," said Kevin Reilly, who oversees prevention programs for the Department of Health Services.
The commission meets again soon to consider the report and could amend it.
Mar 24, '03
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Last edit by brian on Mar 26, '03
Mar 24, '03
The above info added to the potential SARS epidemic sounds like a disaster in the making. I know I tend to be over dramatic sometimes but I don't think this is one of those occasions. A nightmare situation would be a bio terror attack, a natural epidemic and thousands of injured war veterans all arriving at the same time. It would make the swine flu situation sound like the good old days.
Last edit by oramar on Mar 24, '03