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Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 8, 2004
Contact: CDC Media Relations

CDC Invests $73 Million to Improve Health
Information Services for the Public

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today the award of a seven-year, $73 million contract to provide a single point of contact for consumers and health professionals to access comprehensive, timely, and credible health information.

“Communicating directly with the American public has become a vital part of CDC’s role in protecting the nation’s health and safety,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “With this unified approach, we will get the right health information to the right people at the right time.”

The new service will integrate more than 40 hotlines, clearinghouses, automated voice and facsimile response systems into one comprehensive contact service center available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The contact center will cover telephone, facsimile, e-mail, postal mail, and web-based contacts and responses and include multilingual and hearing-impaired services.

“Pearson Government Solutions has been contracted by CDC to use the industry’s leading approaches and technologies to provide the best consumer experience possible,” said CDC Chief Operating Officer Bill Gimson. “Through this action, we increase the level of service and breadth of health information available to the consumer at one phone number.”

Pearson provides consumer information services for more than 32 federal programs, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education.

CDC currently responds to more than 3 million public inquiries a year on such topics as international travel, childhood immunizations, obesity, heart disease and stroke, adolescent health, terrorism preparedness, disease outbreaks, injuries, birth defects, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and environmental threats.

“We are very excited about this new opportunity to improve CDC’s service to the public and health professionals,” said Jim Seligman, CDC Chief Information Officer. “Accurate health information is vitally important for people to make good health choices. While CDC’s website has grown dramatically to over 10 million visitors a month, many consumers need other means to get health information or want an integrated approach between direct person-to-person and electronic interactions.”

The new toll-free consolidated consumer response service will be phased in during the next few months. Callers can continue to use existing CDC hotline numbers. As the new contract is implemented, calls from existing hotlines will automatically be transferred to the new number.

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