Safeguarding the nation's food supply - from the farm to the fork, so to speak - is not only mandatory for health reasons but also, and increasingly, a national-defense/homeland-security requirement as well.
It may be the best designed hospital in the world, but a handsome façade is of little importance if the medical equipment is second-best and/or the doctors, nurses, & other healthcare personnel are not well organized & trained to be the best they can be.
Louisiana, New Orleans, and four state parishes teamed up to review the damage wrought by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike - then used the information gained to plan, prepare for, and actually respond to future weather disasters.
Few if any EMS agencies anywhere in the world are properly equipped to cope with the accidental or intentional release of lethal nerve agents. But there are several ways to keep the death toll low while also protecting the first responders themselves.
It doesn't take much money, time, or a genius IQ to build a clumsy but extremely effective chemical weapon that could kill thousands of people. But a pickup truck would be needed to haul "the makings" from the local warehouse or agricultural combine.
Implementation of the guidelines undergirding new national anti-terrorism policies will be a major challenge for state & local health departments. But the end result will be a better coordinated and much more effective national healthcare community.
Food poisoning - whether intentional or accidental - can have lethal consequences. In either case, it is CDC's job to find out what caused it, what treatments are recommended, and how it can be contained.
Cut costs the easy way - by merging agencies, using more volunteers, and reducing services. The only problem is that agency employees might be unhappy, taxpayers might revolt, and elected officials might soon be looking for new jobs.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are aware that surge capabilities have become increasingly important in dealing with mass-casualty incidents. But few really understand that many meanings are encompassed in that one word.