The current funding process used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to award emergency funding delays awardee response activities for up to six months. The creation of an “approved but unfunded” list of public health departments eligible for expedited awards during a federally declared public health emergency would eliminate this barrier. Expedited funding would allow Texas to not only mount a state and regional response, but also accelerate funding allocations to partners, such as local health departments and the laboratory response network. Texas response activities will support the following outcomes:
Strengthening Incident Management for Early Crisis Response:
Prior to the identification of an index case in Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner will convene an executive-level infectious disease steering committee to develop high-level plans for response and assign departmental and fiscal responsibilities. The State Medical Operations Center (SMOC) will be activated at the discretion of the committee.
Strengthening Jurisdictional Recovery:
Response funding will not support recovery operations. Prior to response, however, Texas will collaborate with public health partners to identify and address the needs of at-risk and vulnerable populations.
Texas will utilize the Texas Syndromic Surveillance (TxS2) system to enhance surveillance of emerging public health conditions and threats. Texas will also use the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS), as a repository for electronic disease reporting from commercial and hospital laboratories.
Strengthening Information Management:
Texas currently funds multiple information sharing platforms, including Texas Red Sky, the Health Alert Network (HAN), the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry, EM Resource and WebEOC. In the event of a declared public health emergency, Texas will use emergency response funding to augment current information sharing processes, as needed.
Strengthening Countermeasures and Mitigation:
In the event of a public health crisis, DSHS will conduct activities to build, maintain and administer pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions per CDC guidance. DSHS will use both current and contractual staff to manage distribution and administration of medical and non-medical countermeasures. DSHS will ensure the safety and health of clinical and nonclinical personnel by distributing personal protective equipment (PPE).
Strengthening Surge Management:
In the event of a public health disaster, DSHS will use surge capacity developed under previous Public Health Crisis Response Cooperative Agreement funding to augment systems as needed. DSHS will activate staffing contracts to address surge issues across regions and disciplines.