News Releases

Murray Announces Over $20 Million for Bioterrorism Response in Washington State

Feb 01 2002

Funding will enhance hospital readiness, train first-responders, improve communications systems

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced $20,397,383 in federal dollars to help Washington state to respond to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies related to terrorist attacks.

Local communities will use the funds, provided through the Bioterrorism Appropriations bill that passed the Senate in December, to train first responders, enhance public information systems, and provide critical resources to local health departments.

"This week's news served as a reminder that we must remain vigilant and committed to protecting our communities against any new threats," Senator Murray said. "These dollars will help our local health departments who are on the front lines in protecting our communities from bioterrorist threats."

The Washington Department of Health has identified several high priority areas to receive bioterrorism preparedness funding. The funds will be used to expand surveillance and investigation of infectious disease with more epidemiologists and expanded laboratory capacity and to enhance public information and communications systems.

The Department of Health will also work with local public health, health care providers, hospitals, and other community partners to develop bioterrorism preparedness work plans.

The federal funds will be allocated in two phases, with 20 percent available immediately, and the remainder allocated after the state submits a completed plan for using the federal money.

Funding breakdown for the Washington Department of Health:

  • CDC: Nearly $18 million ; 20 percent ($3.58 million) immediately available

  • HRSA: Nearly $2.5 million to use for hospital preparedness plans. The first HRSA allocation will total just under $500,000. For the past two years, as a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Murray has been working to increase federal resources so state and local governments can respond to public health threats including bioterrorism. Senator Murray is also working with Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) on a broader bioterrorism preparedness bill.