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Planning Resolution between Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt and Governor Christine O. Gregoire of Washington
- Influenza pandemics have occurred three times in the last 100 years and history and science suggest that the country and the world could face one or more pandemics in this century;
- A pandemic can cause severe illness, death and disruption throughout the country and the world, and outbreaks can occur in many different locations all at the same time;
- Preparing for an influenza pandemic requires coordinated action at all levels of government - federal, state, local, tribal - and all sectors of society, including businesses, schools, faith-based and community organizations, families and individuals;
- The federal government has committed to taking a leadership role in creating a prepared nation by monitoring international and domestic outbreaks, providing funding and technical assistance to foster local and state preparedness, stockpiling and distributing countermeasures, developing new treatments, and coordinating the national response;
- The Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has committed to holding pandemic planning summits in all 50 states, assisting states to improve their level of preparedness;
- President George W. Bush asked Congress for emergency spending authority to prepare the United States against the possibility of a pandemic. The Congress has provided over $3 billion for that purpose in the Defense Appropriations Act for 2006, including funding for state and local planning purposes;
- States and local communities are responsible under their own authorities for responding to an outbreak within their jurisdictions and having comprehensive pandemic preparedness plans and measures in place to protect their residents;
- Consistent with its authorities and availability of funding, HHS may provide additional resources for state and local influenza planning and preparedness activities, and require specific preparedness goals from states and localities as a condition of financial assistance;
- Preparedness plans must be regularly exercised and updated to make sure they work and to achieve a stronger level of preparedness; and
- Pandemic preparedness will help communities manage with any type of medical emergency and will have lasting benefits for the health of our nation;
- HHS and the State of Washington share common goals, and have shared and independent responsibilities for influenza planning and preparedness.
Be it resolved:
1. HHS will be responsible for:
- Continuing to provide guidance and technical assistance to the State of Washington as it prepares to respond to a possible influenza pandemic. Among other things, HHS coordinates pandemic response activities with state, local and tribal public health and health care agencies; supports statewide pandemic planning efforts; communicates and disseminates timely influenza pandemic information and technical guidance to state and local public health departments and health care agencies; and provides direct support and technical guidance for epidemiological investigations and diagnostic services.
- Consistent with its statutory authorities, direction from Congress, and departmental regulations and policy, and subject to available funding, providing states an initial amount of financial assistance for the purposes of pandemic planning. Terms and conditions of such assistance will state that additional amounts will depend upon achievement of specific preparedness goals as agreed to by HHS and the State of Washington, including a self-assessment of readiness on the part of the State of Washington.
- Within six months, reviewing the State of Washington's plans for use, storage and distribution of antiviral medications and notifying the State of Washington of its portion of the federal stockpile of pandemic influenza antiviral drugs.
2. The State of Washington will be responsible for:
- Assuring that the operational plan for pandemic influenza response is an integral element of the overall state and local emergency response plan that will coordinate effectively with Emergency Support Function 8, Public Health and Medical Services, of the National Response Plan and the National Incident Management System.
- Using its established Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee to oversee the development and dissemination of the state's operational pandemic plan.
- Within six months of the date of the signature of this resolution, notifying HHS of the amount of additional pandemic influenza antiviral drugs that the State of Washington will plan to purchase in coordination with HHS, subject to the availability of funding.
- Exercising the state's preparedness plan within six months of the date of the state planning summit between the HHS Secretary and the Governor of the State of Washington, and participating in a nationwide pandemic planning exercise within twelve months of that date.
/s/ Christine O. Gregoire /s/ Michael O. Leavitt