FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 9, 2005) -- Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced $3.3 million in funding for a secure back-up communications system for the Commonwealth’s hospitals, local health departments and several other health care organizations through a grant to the Department for Public Health (DPH) from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“In the event of an emergency, we must ensure that Kentuckians have access to hospitals and health care facilities that are prepared to handle a crisis,” said Governor Fletcher. “This also demonstrates the great cooperation among our emergency response agencies and partners, in truly making this project a group effort. Kentucky is working every day at the state and local levels to increase our preparedness to respond to any and all emergencies.”
The back-up system would be used when primary communications systems experience failure due to a natural or man-made disaster. DPH is partnering with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS), Kentucky Emergency Management (KyEM) and the Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT) to roll out the back-up emergency communications system by the end of this year.
The project includes: the purchase and installation of satellite radio dispatch equipment for hospitals, health departments and other health care organizations; linkage technology needed in some areas to connect existing systems to the new satellite technology; one-time activation fees; 46 months of satellite air time service; project management; and other COT support services needed for the successful implementation of the project.
The HRSA funding is part of the Bush administration’s National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program, aimed at increasing the ability of health care organizations to respond to terrorist incidents or other public health emergencies.
“This announcement is the result of months of careful planning by hospitals, health departments, other health care organizations, and emergency communications experts. Kentucky needs this statewide solution so those who care for the sick and injured can communicate during an emergency,” said Dr. William Hacker, DPH Commissioner. “This is an excellent foundation we can continue to build on in the future.”