California’s public health and medical preparedness structure is built on strong local readiness supported by state policy direction under the leadership of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in coordination with the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA). California’s preparedness achievements and ability to respond to the multitude of public health and medical disasters that it experiences have been achieved through the dedication and commitment of California’s public health and medical workforce and the resources provided through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) and the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) grants. CDPH administers both grants in alignment and thus is in full compliance with the goals and requirements for PHEP-HPP alignment in 2019-20 and for the full project period.
Like the rest of the nation, California experienced a steep recession that began nearly a decade ago and lasted for many years resulting in significant budget reductions at the state and local levels as well as steep reductions in its PHEP and HPP allocations. The economic situation has improved and the last few fiscal years has seen relatively stable funding levels for both state and local levels, as well as the PHEP and HPP allocations. The impact of these challenges though has been a persistent force on California that allows mainly for the emphasis of maintenance rather than growth in its existing public health and medical preparedness capacity.
In 2019-20, California’s PHEP and HPP allocations have been reduced, with HPP funds down only slightly and PHEP funds reduced more significantly, yet the cost of doing business has continued to rise at both the state and local level and both grants have new requirements to be met within this same funding. However, in developing California’s Work Plan for 2019-20 and the 5-year plan for this PHEP and HPP grant cycle, California has sought to make the difficult decisions on how to maintain existing capacity, while focusing on new PHEP grant requirements, capabilities, and aligning with HPP’s requirements including the cycle of development of plans, training, drills and exercises beginning first with pediatric surge plans.