Month: November 2020

Minister Kliman announced HBOR’s loan program for hosts in family accommodation

first_imgTechnical Minister of Tourism Anton Kliman in an interview for Jutarnji list points out that the Ministry of Tourism has agreed with HBOR special conditions for micro-entrepreneurs intended for hosts in family accommodation.” We have agreed with HBOR the conditions for micro-entrepreneurs who will be able to raise a loan of up to HRK 200.000 thousand for this purpose, with an interest rate of 4 percent, only with a personal debenture. ” said Kliman, adding that the project was announced for autumn 2016.This is great news for hosts in family accommodation because they have been putting their valuable property on the market and in the service of tourism for years. Otherwise, until 01.01.2016. There are over 74.000 registered accommodation units in Croatia, which make up about 50 percent of our tourism, and thus everything speaks of its importance for our tourism and potentials. “Everything that Croatian citizens have invested in their private property has been done without benefits, on commercial terms with a lifelong waiver of their own standard in order to be able to invest in the business. They put that same private property in the function of the common good. Croatia has significant revenues, significant exports of services based on these private assets, more than 1,4 billion Euros, without having invested practically anything in the conditions for the realization of that revenue. ” Nedo Pinezić, president of the Family Accommodation Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, points out that he first asked and withdrew the issue of lending from HBOR to family accommodation, adding that the greatest development and investment potential of Croatian tourism lies in family accommodation.In accordance with the excellent tourist results, another record season is expected this year, as shown by the data on the ground, and in the month of August, not a single day has passed without a million overnight stays. A total of 26,6 million overnight stays were realized in July, which is 3,6 million more overnight stays than at the same time last year. This year, apart from the record season in the number of overnight stays, a record income from tourism is also expected, and how revenues will reach the magic number of eight billion euros in tourism revenues. It is estimated that the share of tourism in GDP will grow to 20 percent this year, while last year the share was 18,1 percent.U tourism development strategy until 2020. The plan is for the income from tourism to amount to 14 billion euros, and with the announcement that another 50 new hotels will open next year and the development of family accommodation, slowly but surely, the magic number of 14 billion euros of income is getting closer.last_img read more

Mental disorders and physical diseases co-occur in teenagers

first_imgDepression comes with indigestionThe researchers found that more than a third (35.3%) of children and adolescents reported at least one mental disorder and one chronic physical disease. The strongest correlation was found between affective disorders (e.g. depression) and diseases of the digestive system. Adolescents with anxiety disorders were also suffering above-average from arthritis, heart disease and diseases of the digestive system. Similar correlations occurred between eating disorders and seizures (epilepsy). Factors such as age, gender or socioeconomic status of the adolescents did not account for these associations.Due to the cross-sectional design of the study, the results do not show if and how mental disorders and physical disease are also connected causally. “Future studies should identify risk factors as well as the biological and psychological mechanisms responsible for these associations, in order to develop interdisciplinary approaches”, explains Maion Tegethoff, first-author of the study. Such treatment should take into account both the physical disease as well as the mental disorder. This would lead to better health care for children and adolescents and would prevent unfavorable long-term effects for individuals as well as for the health care system in general. Email Share on Facebook Every third teenager has suffered from one mental disorder and one physical disease. These co-occurrences come in specific associations: More often than average, depression occurs together with diseases of the digestive system, eating disorders with seizures and anxiety disorders together with arthritis, heart disease as well as diseases of the digestives system. These findings were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Their results based on data from 6,500 U.S. teenagers have been published in the scientific journal Psychosomatic Medicine.According to the WHO, chronic physical disease and mental disorders are challenging the health care systems and have advanced into the focus of public health authorities worldwide in recent years. Previous adult studies suggest that physical disease and mental disorders not only randomly but also systematically co-occur.A research team led by PD Dr. Marion Tegethoff from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Basel now analyzed how often and in what manner these associations already occur in children and adolescents. The study is part of a research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a national representative cohort of 6,482 U.S. teenagers aged 13 to 18. Share on Twittercenter_img LinkedIn Share Pinterestlast_img read more

Specific protein as missing link for earliest known change in Alzheimer’s pathology

first_imgEmail Share on Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest A recent study conducted at Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research (NKI) and NYU Langone Medical Center implicates a new culprit in Alzheimer’s disease development. The research reveals that ßCTF — the precursor of the amyloid beta (Aß) peptide — acts at the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s to initiate a range of abnormalities leading to the loss of groups of neurons critical for memory formation. Results from the study are published online July 21, 2015 in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry, and the article has been selected for an issue cover.The recent study findings involving ßCTF have significant implications for treatment strategies and furthering the course of Alzheimer’s drug development. Presently, the most common strategy for treating Alzheimer’s disease is targeting the amyloid ß peptide, which has had modest success in clinical trials. Findings from this research suggest that drugs that may reduce βCTF levels as well as beta-amyloid, such as the class of BACE1 inhibitors currently under development, may help slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.βCTF is formed during endocytosis, the process by which cells absorb nutrients and sample various materials from the outside environment. It has been known for some time that abnormalities of endocytosis develop very early in Alzheimer’s disease, well before clinical symptoms, and that variant forms of genes controlling endocytosis are frequently implicated as risk factors promoting Alzheimer’s. Endosomes — the membranous vesicles mediating endocytosis — start to swell abnormally in some neurons beginning even in infancy in Down syndrome – a developmental disability that almost invariably leads to early-onset AD. Research indicates that more than 75 percent of those with Down’s, aged 65 and older, have Alzheimer’s disease.center_img The NYU Langone – NKI research team led by Ralph Nixon, MD, PhD, professor in the departments of psychiatry and cell biology at NYU Langone School of Medicine and director of the Center for Dementia Research at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research found that, in Alzheimer’s and Down Syndrome, βCTF forms more rapidly on endosomes triggering a molecular pathway leading to loss of neurons involved with memory.The researchers discovered APPL1, a protein unrelated to amyloid precursor protein (APP) despite its similar acronym, directly links βCTF to a second protein, rab5, known to activate the molecular chain of events leading to neurodegeneration. Lowering APPL1 levels in cells of individuals with Down syndrome abolished the abnormal endocytosis, indicating the vital role of APPL1 in this molecular cascade. The identification of APPL1 as the missing link in a well-described chain of events associated with very early Alzheimer pathology implies a direct contribution of ßCTF to Alzheimer’s disease development. Notably, a recently discovered APP mutation that uniquely lowers, rather than raising, risk for Alzheimer’s is believed to act by slowing the formation of ßCTF.While the current findings do not place any more or less importance to Aß as a culprit and a target for Alzheimer’s therapy, they now underscore the importance of ßCTF as a key contributor to disease development. “It will be important to consider the role of βCTF in the design of future therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and in the interpretation of current clinical trials of BACE1 inhibitors. BACE1 inhibitor trials have been considered a test of the Aß/amyloid hypothesis but the primary action of these inhibitors is actually to block formation of ßCTF, the precursor of Aß,” said Ralph A. Nixon, MD, PhD. Share Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Sarcasm, white lies and teasing can be difficult to identify for those with certain disorders

first_imgPinterest Share Share on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedIncenter_img Email When she says she loves my new haircut is she telling the truth or being sarcastic? The answer isn’t always obvious.Especially for men.Or for those who suffer from diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, or neurodevelopmental conditions such as Autism spectrum disorder. For people with these problems, any form of non-literal speech such as sarcasm, teasing or ‘white lies’ can be very confusing. A new video inventory of examples of these forms of indirect speech developed at McGill should help in the diagnosis and clinical testing of those with disorders of this kind. A ‘truth bias’ underlies much social interaction“We tend to believe that people tell the truth most of the time,” says Kathrin Rothermich, from McGill’s School of Communication Disorders, who has recently published a paper about the research in PLoS ONE. “So sarcasm and white lies seem to go against a basic understanding of what ‘should’ be happening in conversation. This may be part of what makes them so difficult to recognize for some.”Rothermich has spent the past two years creating and testing the Relational Inference and Social Communication (RISC) video inventory that she and her colleague Marc Pell developed. These 926 videos feature short, scripted scenes with four actors interacting in different relationships (as romantic partners, as friends, as colleagues, or as boss/employee).In each exchange, the actors were asked to convey one specific intention through their speech and actions: to be sincere, to tell ‘white lies’, to tease, or to be sarcastic. Rothermich then tested the videos on a group of healthy participants to see whether they were able to identify the speakers’ intentions, and to get feedback about which vocal and facial cues had helped them identify what was going on.Sarcasm is especially hard to recognizeParticipants were generally well able to identify the speakers’ intention either when one of the actors was teasing someone else or when they were telling the truth. What proved to be more difficult, and particularly so for men, was identifying when someone was being sarcastic. It was only when sarcasm was used in relationships between friends that participants were better able to recognize it.“We discovered that the actors found it hardest to perform the scripts where they were being asked to tease one another,” says Rothermich. “This may be because teasing doesn’t always fit easily or logically into a conversation. One of the things that some actors did was to speak with exaggerated or fake accents when they were teasing, which is something that other researchers have also reported.”The researchers believe that this video inventory will provide a useful tool for future research on social cognition, inter-personal communication and the interpretation of a speaker’s intentions in both healthy adult and clinical populations.The research was funded by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).last_img read more

Scientists use electrical neuroimaging to reveal the mental processes behind prejudice

first_imgShare on Twitter We do not always say what we think: we like to hide certain prejudices, sometimes even from ourselves. But unconscious prejudices become visible with tests, because we need a longer time if we must associate unpleasant things with positive terms. Researchers in Bern now show that additional processes in the brain are not responsible for this, but some of them simply take longer.A soccer fan needs more time to associate a positive word with an opposing club than with his own team. And supporters of a political party associate a favourable attribute faster with their party than with political rivals – even if they endeavour towards the opposite. It is long since known that a positive association with one’s own group, an “in-group”, happens unconsciously faster than with an “outgroup”. These different reaction times become visible in the Implicit Association Test (IAT) with which psychologists examine unconscious processes and prejudices. But why the effort to address a friendly word to an outgroup takes more time was not clear up to now.Now a team headed by Prof. Daria Knoch from the Department of Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychology, University of Bern, shows that an additional mental process is not responsible for this, as has often been postulated – but rather the brain lingers longer in certain processes. The study has now been published in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America). Number and sequence of processes are exactly the sameThe researchers relied on a unique combination of methods for their study: they conducted an Implicit Association Test with 83 test subjects who are soccer fans or political supporters. While the test persons had to associate positive terms on the screen by means of a button click, either with their in-group or with an outgroup, the brain activity was recorded by means of an EEG (electroencephalogram).“We analysed these data with a so-called “microstate analysis”. It enabled us to depict all processes in the brain for the first time – from the presentation of a word up to pressing the button – temporally and also spatially”, explains co-lead author Dr. Lorena Gianotti from the Department of Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience.The analysis shows the following: the brain runs through seven processes, from the presentation of stimulus – i.e. a word – up to button click, in less than one second. “The number and sequences of these processes remain exactly the same, regardless of whether the test subject had to associate positive words with the in-group, i.e. their club or their party, or with an outgroup”, explains co-lead author Dr. Bastian Schiller, who is in the meantime conducting research at the University of Freiburg.The reaction time with the outgroup situation is therefore longer, because some of the seven processes take longer – and not because a new process is switched in between. “As a result, corresponding theories can be refuted”, says Schiller.A complete consideration of all processes in the brain is essential for an interpretation, emphasises Lorena Gianotti, and she illustrated this in the following example: on Monday after work you go out to eat with a friend and go to sleep afterwards at 10 pm. On Friday you do exactly the same thing – but you come home two hours later since you can sleep late on the next day. If you now compare the days at 8 pm, both times you were in a restaurant and one could conclude that this is an identical time schedule. If the comparison takes place at 11 pm, you are one time already in bed and one time still on the go. One could think that on Friday you were perhaps still in the sports studio or had an entirely different daily schedule. Therefore it is clear that selective considerations do not allow any conclusion with regard to the entire day – neither with regard to the sequence nor the activities.“In the research of human behaviour it is essential to consider the underlying brain mechanisms. And this in turn requires suitable methods in order to gain comprehensive findings”, summarises study leader Daria Knoch. A combination of neuroscientific and psychological methods can lead to new insights. LinkedIn Share on Facebookcenter_img Share Email Pinterestlast_img read more

One-third of autistic children likely to wander, disappear

first_imgShare Email Share on Twitter Pinterest Share on Facebookcenter_img LinkedIn A review of data on 1,420 children ages 6 to 17 with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) found that more than one-third had wandered away from a safe environment within the past 12 months, according to findings from two studies reported at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Baltimore.“Elopement, or wandering, places children with autism spectrum disorders at risk of serious injury or even death once they are away from adult supervision,” said Andrew Adesman, MD, chief of developmental pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York and senior investigator of the studies. “Despite its clear relevance to the safety of these children, there has been little research on elopement.”Researchers examined data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of parents and guardians of more than 4,000 children ages 6 to 17 diagnosed with ASD, an intellectual disability or developmental delay. For their studies, analysis was restricted to only those children with ASD. The researchers found that wanderers were more likely to not realize when they are in danger, to have difficulty distinguishing between strangers and familiar people, to show sudden mood changes, to over-react to situations and people, to get angry quickly, and to panic in new situations or if change occurs.Researchers also found that wanderers were more than twice as likely to elope from a public place, compared to their home or school. “As the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the United States continues to rise, there is a need to better understand the behaviors that may compromise the safety and well-being of these children,” said Bridget Kiely a research assistant in the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at CCMC and principal investigator of the study.These findings also highlight an urgency to identify more effective strategies for preventing potential elopement tragedies.last_img read more

Researchers uncover brain circuitry central to reward-seeking behavior

first_imgPinterest LinkedIn Share Share on Facebook Share on Twittercenter_img Email The prefrontal cortex, a large and recently evolved structure that wraps the front of the brain, has powerful “executive” control over behavior, particularly in humans. The details of how it exerts that control have been elusive, but UNC School of Medicine scientists, publishing today in Nature, have now uncovered some of those details, using sophisticated techniques for recording and controlling the activity of neurons in live mice.The UNC scientists, led by Garret Stuber, PhD, associate professor in UNC’s departments of psychiatry and cell biology & physiology, examined two distinct populations of prefrontal neurons, each of which project to a different brain region outside the cortex. The researchers found that as mice learn to associate a particular sound with a rewarding sugary drink, one set of prefrontal neurons becomes more active and promotes what researchers call reward-seeking behavior – a sign of greater motivation. By contrast, other prefrontal neurons are silenced in response to the tone, and those neurons act like a brake on reward-seeking.“We’ve known that there are a lot of differences in how prefrontal neurons respond to stimuli, but nobody has really been able to map these differences onto the intrinsic wiring of the brain,” said Stuber, senior author of the study and member of the UNC Neuroscience Center. Stuber and colleagues obtained their findings with the use of three sophisticated and relatively new neuroscience tools: deep-brain two-photon imaging, optogenetics, and genetic techniques for labeling neurons by their projection targets in the brain. The successful combination of these tools heralds their future common use in defining the pathways and functions of many other brain networks to help uncover the roots of both normal and abnormal behavior.The study, conducted by first authors and UNC postdoctoral fellows James Otis, PhD, and Vijay Namboodiri, PhD, focused on the dorsomedial (upper-middle) prefrontal cortex, or dmPFC.“This region is critical for reward processing, decision making, and cognitive flexibility among other things, but how distinct populations of neurons within dmPFC orchestrate such phenomena were unclear,” Stuber said.Stuber and colleagues examined how the activity of dmPFC neurons changes during a Pavlovian reward-conditioning process. In this process, mice learn to associate an auditory tone with a taste of sugary liquid until the tone itself is enough to make the animals start licking around their mouths in anticipation.“This simple experiment models a learning phenomenon that occurs in lots of different brain regions,” Stuber said. “It is critical for motivation and decision making, and of course it can go awry in drug and food addiction, depression, and other neuropsychiatric disorders.”As the mice in the experiment learned to associate the tone with the sweet drink, the researchers found that a subset of the mouse dmPFC neurons became increasingly excited when the tone sounded, whereas another subset went increasingly silent. The researchers were able to observe this phenomenon by using a deep-brain version of two-photon imaging, a technique in which a microscope visualizes hundreds of brain cells simultaneously in mice that are awake and able to perform some ordinary behaviors.The dmPFC is known to output many of its chemical signals to two other brain regions, the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT), both of which are considered important for reward-directed behavior. Stuber’s team found that the NAc-projecting neurons in the dmPFC were the ones that became increasingly excited by the tone, and the PVT-projecting neurons were the ones that became increasingly suppressed. The two sets of neurons turned out to be physically separate within the dmPFC only by a few hundred micrometers.The team then used optogenetic techniques to artificially drive the activities of these neurons. Optogenetics allows researchers to use beams of light to activate specific populations of neurons. Driving the NAc-projecting neurons caused the mice to anticipate their sweet reward more intensely, with more licks after the tone. By contrast, driving the PVT-projecting neurons muted that anticipatory, reward-seeking behavior.The findings represent a basic demonstration of how the dmPFC has evolved anatomically distinct neuronal populations that have functionally distinct control over behavior, Stuber said. And the discovery points to the existence of similar combinations of control mechanisms elsewhere in the brain.He and his colleagues are now following up with studies of dmPFC neurons that project to other brain regions.last_img read more

Psychology turns to online crowdsourcing to study the mind, but it’s not without its pitfalls

first_imgShare You may not know this, but a great deal of our data about the human mind is based on a relatively small but intensively studied population: first-year undergraduate university students. There has long been concern about the over-reliance on students as a source of data, particularly around lack of demographic diversity and limited sample sizes. Both concerns have been implicated in the current crisis in psychological research, in which many key effects have not been replicated by subsequent studies.But now there’s a new tool in the psycologist’s arsenal, one that has shown it can produce valid data, which can help broaden the population of test subjects: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Share on Twitter Pinterest Mechanical Turk is the most popular online data collection platform. People register with the platform, then choose from thousands of advertisements searching for participants. Compared to the slow slog of testing first-year students in a laboratory, Mechanical Turk offers the opportunity to collect hundreds of responses at a modest cost in a matter of hours.Psychologists have embraced Mechanical Turk with gusto, and many recent studies have drawn their data from Mechanical Turk subjects. However, the new system is not without its drawbacks.Too good to be true?Recently, researchers working with Mechanical Turk have raised concerns about whether it comes with hidden costs. The original goal of many researchers using this platform was to conduct scientifically valid studies in large and diverse samples.But does online data really provide the solution? Here are some pros and cons.Sample SizeMechanical Turk offers an unparalleled opportunity to collect large samples, particularly in comparison to traditional undergraduate participant pools, many of which cap annual testing at 200 participants.In contrast, there are more than 500,000 workers registered on Mechanical Turk. However, researchers must be careful to prevent Mechanical Turk workers from participating in the same study more than once and thus invalidating the results.DiversityPsychologists are concerned with whether findings generalise beyond student samples, or beyond so-called “WEIRD” (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic) samples.This is important not only for their own theoretical closure, but also to increase confidence in the general public about the overall validity and importance of the findings. The demographic diversity of Mechanical Turk workers is certainly more varied than that of undergraduate students.ReliabilityOne barrier to obtaining reliable data is participant engagement, which is easier to ensure and monitor with students in the lab than it is with Mechanical Turk workers in their own home.To combat this issue, researchers typically integrate checks into questionnaires to identify participants who are not paying attention, such as asking: “This is a test item, please answer ‘not at all’ for this question”. However, there are now reports that Mechanical Turk workers are adept at spotting such questions.Fortunately, larger sample sizes do allow researchers to “wash out” the noise of less-than-perfect data. This means that relationships can be detected in noisy data given a large enough sample, but that averages across different samples are likely to differ.NaivetyAnother concern is the naivety of research participants. Study results are unlikely to be valid if participants know the procedure and expected hypotheses in advance.Lack of naivety in this form has the potential to significantly alter results, and thus impact on replicability. Here, undergraduate samples present an advantage: students typically complete only a handful of studies in their first year, and most before being exposed to detailed information about psychology.In contrast, some MTurk workers treat study completion as a full-time job, completing hundreds of studies per week. More concerning still is the availability of online communities in which workers trade information about study hypotheses and procedures and offer tips on completing studies quickly, which inevitably comes at the cost of psychological engagement.The future of online data collectionResearchers turned to online data collection platforms like Mechanical Turk because they offered quick, cheap and apparently scientifically valid solutions to problems implicated in the replication crisis.Although Mechanical Turk allows for collection of large and diverse samples, it comes with other costs that may compromise scientific rigour, including questionable quality and validity of results.This means Mechanical Turk is useful, but only to the extent that researchers are aware of, and compensate for, its pitfalls. This includes:1) embedding novel attention checks to keep ahead of savvy workers2) ensuring workers do not complete studies more than once3) avoiding common procedures that workers have seen hundreds of times; and4) diversifying onto other online platforms (or creating an Australian platform that is better suited to the requirements of local researchers)Overall, online samples should be used as a complement to, not a replacement for, traditional student samples. Both methods have their own strengths and weaknesses, but together produce better science.While Mechanical Turk isn’t the silver bullet that psychology researchers had hoped, harnessing its benefits and offsetting its costs will ensure the future of online data collection is still bright.By Michael Humphreys, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Psychology, The University of Queensland; Katharine H. Greenaway, Research Fellow in Social Psychology, The University of Queensland, and Sarah Bentley, Researcher Social Psychology, The University of QueenslandThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.center_img LinkedIn Email Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Heart rate reactivity moderates the relationship between bullying and internalizing problems in girls

first_imgShare New research provides evidence that heart rate reactivity is a biological moderator between bullying and internalizing problems in adolescent girls.The findings, which appear in Evolutionary Psychological Science, could help explain why peer victimization leads to internalizing problems in some girls but not others.“The theory of Biological Sensitivity to Context is a fascinating one,” said study author Christopher D. Aults, an assistant professor of Psychology at King’s College. Share on Twitter Pinterest Share on Facebookcenter_img Email LinkedIn The theory holds that the environment in early life predisposes individuals to have varying degrees of reactivity to stress, which can have both beneficial and societally maladaptive outcomes.“Understanding how individual differences contribute to psychological adjustment is an important area of research. Peer victimization is rarely used as a variable of interest in these models, so we wanted to explore if victimization interacted with heightened stress reactivity to predict increases in internalizing problems in adolescents,” Aults said.In the study of 44 girls and 38 boys (11–14 years of age), the researchers monitored the children’s resting heart rate before introducing a laboratory stressor. The difference between the resting heart rate and heart rate in response to the stressor was used as a measure of physiological reactivity.The researchers found that girls whose heart rates were highly reactive tended to be more likely to have internalizing problems, such as depression and anxiety, when subjected to a higher level of bullying. But girls with high reactivity tended to rank lower on internalizing behaviors when subjected to a low levels of bullying.“In essence, they are most apt to thrive when supported by peers, but also most likely to struggle when victimized by peers,” the researchers wrote.Girls with low cardiovascular reactivity, on the other hand, were less impacted by their social environment, whether that environment was positive or negative.“Studying stress reactivity in adolescents who are victimized by their peers may be a good indicator for predicting internalizing problems, particularly for girls,” Aults told PsyPost.For boys, cardiovascular reactivity did not appear to have a moderating influence. And the study — like all research — includes some limitations.“This study was concurrent and correlational. Looking at stress reactivity, or even the severity of victimization over time in a longitudinal fashion, is needed,” Aults said.The study, “Adolescent Girls’ Biological Sensitivity to Context: Heart Rate Reactivity Moderates the Relationship Between Peer Victimization and Internalizing Problems,” was authored by Christopher D. Aults, Karin Machluf, P. Douglas Sellers II, and Nancy Aaron Jones.last_img read more

HHS announces $390 million in grants for hospital preparedness

first_imgJul 8, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – States and territories will receive a total of $390.5 million in federal grants this year to help hospitals and other healthcare facilities improve their capability to cope with emergencies and disasters, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday.The annual grants are intended to “enhance community resilience by increasing the ability of hospital and healthcare facilities to respond to the medical impacts of any emergency, such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, or acts of terrorism,” HHS officials said in a news release.The grants go to all 50 states, eight territories, and four metropolitan areas: Chicago, Los Angeles County, New York City, and Washington, DC. For the states, amounts range from almost $32 million for California to $1.1 million for Wyoming. The allocations are based mainly on population.The grants for healthcare surge capacity and a related grant program for state public health preparedness were launched in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2001.Last year’s round of hospital preparedness grants was smaller, at $362 million, according to Elleen Kane, a spokeswoman for the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which administers the program.But she said last year’s funding covered only 9 months instead of a full year, because HHS changed the program calendar to match the states’ July-to-June budget cycle. Previously the grants were timed according to the federal budget cycle, based on an October-to-September fiscal year. HHS did not make a public announcement of the grant total last year, she said, commenting, “We were in the throes of H1N1.”Last year there was also a special round of HHS grants totaling $90 million, announced in July, to help healthcare facilities prepare for the fall wave of pandemic flu.This year’s healthcare preparedness funding is slightly below the 2008 amount of $398 million. In 2007 the grants totaled $430 million, and in 2006 the amount was $450 million.The HHS announcement said the funds are intended to be used to develop or improve interoperable communication systems, systems to track available hospital beds, advance registration of volunteer health professionals, process for hospital evacuations or sheltering in place, processes for facility management, community healthcare partnerships, and hospital participation in statewide or regional training exercises.An official with Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit public health advocacy group based in Washington, DC, told CIDRAP News the group is encouraged that the hospital preparedness program is continuing but regards it as very inadequate for its intended purposes.Laura Segal, TFAH’s director of public affairs, said the program has been important for planning and has helped with some preparedness steps, but commented, “Obviously it’s not at a sufficient level to really prepare the hospitals for the kinds of threats we’re talking about, from a severe pandemic to things like hurricanes or other sorts of infectious disease outbreaks or bioterrorism.”See also: Jul 7 HHS announcement with list of grants by jurisdiction 3, 2008, CIDRAP News story on 2008 hospital preparedness grants general information about the Hospital Preparedness Program read more