Texas health official: Funding boost needed on outbreaks

A Texas health official on Wednesday said the federal government must boost funding to a program that prepares hospitals for disease outbreaks.

“Hospital preparedness needs to be improved. It’s not all about making a vaccine or a new drug against Ebola or new leadership. Some of it is just preparedness right on the ground. I think that would yield tremendous benefits to the system,” Dr. Brett Giroir said on CNN's "New Day."

Giroir is the head of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, which Gov. Rick Perry (R) created earlier this month.

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Hospitals nationwide have been complaining for years, Giroir said, of the need for more funding to prepare their staffs for diseases like Ebola.

“I think we’re going to have to relook at that,” said Giroir, who testified before a congressional panel recently about funding.

Funding for the Centers for Disease Control’s Hospital Preparedness Program dropped from $358 million in 2013 to $255 million this year.

Ron Klain, meanwhile, begins his job Wednesday as the Ebola czar. Giroir said Klain should “assert his authority and take charge.”

Giroir said there should be a more permanent person in the administration who oversees the handling of infectious diseases. 

“We shouldn’t have a disease czar every time,” he said. “I think we should have one person at the White House level who’s always in control of these circumstances.”