Objective: To generate estimates of the direct costs of mounting simultaneous emergency preparedness and response activities to respond to 3 major public health events. Design: A cost analysis was performed from the perspective of the public health department using real-time activity diaries and retrospective time and activity self-reporting, wage and fringe benefit data, and financial records to track costs. Setting: Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) in Arizona. The nation's third largest local public health jurisdiction, MCDPH is the only local health agency serving Maricopa's more than 4 000 000 residents. Responses analyzed included activities related to a measles outbreak with 2 confirmed cases, enhanced surveillance activities surrounding Super Bowl XLIX, and ongoing Ebola monitoring, all between January 22, 2015, and March 4, 2015. Participants: Time data were sought from all MCDPH staff who participated in activities related to any of the 3 relevant responses. In addition, time data were sought from partners at the state health department and a community hospital involved in response activities. Time estimates were received from 128 individuals (response rate 88%). Main Outcome Measure: Time and cost to MCDPH for each response and overall. Results: Total MCDPH costs for measles-, Super Bowl-, and Ebola-related activities from January 22, 2015, through March 4, 2015, were $224 484 (>5800 hours). The majority was for personnel ($203 743) and the costliest response was measles ($122 626 in personnel costs). In addition, partners reported working more than 700 hours for these 3 responses during this period. Conclusions: Funding for public health departments remains limited, yet public health responses can be cost- and time-intensive. To effectively plan for future public health responses, it may be necessary to share experiences and financial lessons learned from similar public health responses. External partnerships represent a key contribution for responses such as those examined. It can be expensive for local public health departments to mount effective responses, especially when multiple responses occur simultaneously.
- cost analysis
- public health emergency response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health