H-4334.1  _______________________________________________


                 SECOND SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2854



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2002 Regular Session


By House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Schual‑Berke, Haigh, Morris, Barlean, O'Brien, Hurst, Hatfield, Anderson, Chase, Upthegrove and Rockefeller)


Read first time 02/11/2002.  Referred to Committee on .

Creating a plan to improve preparedness in response to a bioterrorist event.

    AN ACT Relating to planning for public health emergencies arising from terrorist acts; adding a new section to chapter 43.70 RCW; creating a new section; providing an expiration date; and declaring an emergency.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the government's primary role in protecting the health, safety, and well-being of its citizens has been underscored.  The threat of biological and chemical agents used for terrorism creates new and emerging dangers for public health and raises the possibility of mass civilian exposures and casualties.  In addition, the September 11th attacks demonstrated that other types of terrorist attacks may create public health emergencies for victims, rescue personnel, government agencies, and the public.

    The legislature finds there is a need to focus on the prevention, detection, management, and containment of public health emergencies from infectious diseases.  The legislature also finds that an effective communications system is needed to ensure that health care providers across the state can quickly and efficiently notify and communicate with each other regarding signs and symptoms they may observe that may be the earliest indications of bioterrorism and terrorist-related public health emergencies.  The legislature also finds that dissemination of public health information during an emergency is critical to the functioning and well-being of the public.  The legislature further finds that there is a need to coordinate planning among government agencies to ensure an effective response to bioterrorism incidents or other terrorist attacks.  The legislature recognizes that the department of health and human services has recently awarded funding to the department of health to develop a comprehensive bioterrorism plan and to improve and expand disease surveillance and investigation, communication, public health laboratory capacity, and hospital system readiness.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 43.70 RCW to read as follows:

    (1) The department shall be designated as the coordinator of the state bioterrorism preparedness and response program.  By July 2, 2002, the department shall prepare a plan for improving current preparedness and response for a bioterrorist event or other public health emergency.  The plan shall address:

    (a) Improvements to the communicable disease surveillance and investigation system, in a manner consistent with existing systems established under chapter 70.05 RCW and the rules of the state board of health;

    (b) Additional methods of communication, including but not limited to an internet-based bioterrorism communications system for licensed health care professionals, to allow communication with and among local, state, and federal agencies, health care professionals, hospitals, and the public during a public health emergency; and

    (c) Other measures necessary to detect and respond to a public health emergency, including but not limited to guidelines for the safe and effective management of persons isolated, quarantined, vaccinated, or treated during a public health emergency.

    (2) The department shall also compare state statutes and regulations with federal requirements to determine whether additional statutory changes are necessary to address the unique needs of Washington state.

    (3) Integration, coordination, and cross-agency collaboration are essential to the development of the plan.  In developing and implementing the plan, the department shall coordinate with and involve representatives of the emergency management council, local health jurisdictions, other federal, state, and local agencies, health care providers, and hospitals.

    (4) The plan developed according to this act must be consistent with the state comprehensive management plan under chapter 38.52 RCW.

    (5) The department shall submit the state plan to the federal department of health and human services by March 15, 2002, and no later than April 15, 2002.  If the deadline for plan submission is extended, the department shall submit the state plan no later than the subsequent deadline established by the federal department of health and human services.

    (6) The department shall submit a written report on the comparison required by subsection (2) of this section and its progress in meeting the requirements of this section to the legislature no later than December 1, 2002.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  This act expires June 30, 2003.


                            --- END ---