A Report on Bioterrorism and Political/Economic Support for Health Departments

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Bioterrorism and Political/Economic Support for Health Departments Introduction Though the terrorist attacks of 9/11 shook the United States from some of its complacency, 11 years later, our public health system and the public/private health departments of the United States are still incapable of coping with a major bioterrorist attack. Our health care system was not designed to deal with bioterrorism, our medical personnel are not trained or experienced enough to deal with bioterrorism and we have not devoted enough political muscle and money to redesigning, re-educating and restructuring so the health departments can effectively deal with this very real menace. The solution is the devotion of all those assets to a new, empowered, well-funded, coordinated health departments comprising a highly effective public health system. The Fundamental Problem with our Response to Bioterrorism is not Inadequate Legal Authority. It is that Health Departments do not have Adequate Political and Economic Support. Addressing the proposed Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) in 2003, the Louisiana State University Law Center concluded that the real problem in addressing bioterrorism is that our public health system is incapable of adequately responding to a bioterrorism threat, just as it is incapable of adequately responding to other public health threats (LSU Program in Law, Science and Public Health, 2003). The LSU Law Center's concern is apparently shared by
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