WASHINGTON, D.C.–If a pandemic or a disease like Ebola were to spread to become a threat to the United States, there are worries now that Homeland Security might not be as well-equipped to deal with it as it should be. Mississippi Cong. Bennie Thompson (D-2nd Dist.) is calling mismanagement by the department unacceptable.
“DHS is among the chief Federal agencies charged with helping state and local governments response capabilities to prepare for and respond to catastrophic health threats. Unfortunately we do not know whether the Department has the capability to protect its own workforce in the event of a pandemic,” said Thompson in a news release.
An Inspector General’s audit showed that equipment had been misplaced, allowed to expire, or way too much was ordered, in some cases.
LINK: The report: http://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2014/OIG_14-129_Aug14.pdf
The report said over 80 percent of the anti-viral drugs the department has are due to expire next year and that over 80 percent of their hand sanitizer had already expired.
There were also 16 million surgical masks and over 350,000 white overall body suits and nobody knows why that many would be needed.
The department got $47 million from Congress to get ready for pandemics and other serious health events, and Thompson wants to knwo what happened to the money.
“It is unclear what data or methodology drove the investment decisions DHS made.”
There are recommendations in the report for fixes, and Thompson said he believes DHS should start now.