The House Energy and Commerce Committee today approved the Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act (H.R. 3299) with an AHA-supported provision that would require the Government Accountability Office to report on state, local and hospital preparedness programs. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Hospital Preparedness Program is the primary federal program for hospital emergency preparedness. “The AHA wants to ensure that the majority of HPP funding is awarded to hospitals, health systems and health care coalitions in order to enhance preparedness and surge capacity,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels in a letter of support for the provision. “That is why we believe it is important for the Comptroller General of the United States to review how HPP funds are being used and if they are meeting the purpose of providing hospitals and health systems with the ability to be prepared for emergencies and not being used for other purposes.” AHA also urged Congress to fully fund the program at the authorized level of $374.7 million, noting that appropriations have been reduced by more than 50% since the program began.