For Immediate Release: December 19, 2012
TFAH Statement on the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2012—Urges Senate Passage by Year’s End
Washington, DC, December 19, 2012 – Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) applauds House passage and urges swift Senate passage—before year’s end—of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA).
The following is a statement from Jeff Levi, Executive Director of TFAH.
“In 2006, PAHPA greatly strengthened the nation’s preparedness and response planning.
Now, in 2012, PAHPRA provides an opportunity to update the statute to more adequately address ongoing and emerging challenges in public health preparedness – and to ensure public health has the resources and support necessary to prepare for and respond to a disease outbreak, severe weather event, act of terrorism or other public health emergency.
It is important, in the final bill, that the Public Health and Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Grant Program, Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) are reauthorized, as they provide vital funding to local and state public health departments to strengthen response capabilities, enhance hospital preparedness and surge capacity and develop vaccines, drugs and other necessary countermeasures.
In addition, the following provisions are essential to keeping communities healthy and safe:
Temporary Redeployment of Federally Funded Personnel During a Public Health Emergency: The provision allows states and tribes to request from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to temporarily reassign public health personnel from other HHS-funded grant programs to respond to a major emergency.
Children’s Preparedness: PAHPRA establishes the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters, which will provide pediatric preparedness recommendations. In addition, the bill takes significant steps toward ensuring Medical Countermeasure (MCM) research and development take into account the special needs of children.
Enhancing Situational Awareness and Biosurveillance: The bill calls for coordination among U.S. biosurveillance systems, which will heighten the nation’s ability to respond to bioterrorism and disease outbreak.
Carryover of Grant Use, Coordination: The bill gives HHS grantees limited ability to carry over federal grants, which should promote long-term planning by allowing for increased flexibility.
TFAH looks forward to seeing a bill on the President’s desk before the end of the year.”
Today, TFAH also released the 10th annual Ready or Not? Report, which found that while there has been significant progress toward improving public health preparedness over the past 10 years, particularly in core capabilities, there continue to be persistent gaps in the country’s ability to respond to health emergencies, ranging from bioterrorist threats to serious disease outbreaks to extreme weather events. The full report is available at http://healthyamericans.org/report/101/.
Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. www.healthyamericans.org