Hospitals, States Struggle To Prepare for the Next Crisis

New Jersey officials hope new budget will help hospitals improve emergency preparedness

By Dan Hounsell
July 6, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic shows signs of winding down in many parts of the country, healthcare systems and their partners in state and local governments are sifting through the lessons from the last 16 months and applying them to preparations for future crises.

Consider New Jersey, where the new state budget includes $450 million for three hospitals to strengthen emergency preparedness, according to the Asbury Park Press. State officials said the budget would help the state rebound from the public health crisis and improve its readiness for future crises.

But the pandemic showed where the state fell short. Hospitals didn't have enough protective equipment. Local health departments say lawmakers missed a chance to provide a steady source of money that could help the state respond better to future crises.

Among the budget winners: University Hospital in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center in Camden will share $450 million to strengthen regional health emergency preparedness infrastructure.

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