The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today held its second hearing on reauthorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, currently set to expire Oct. 1. Among other provisions, PAHPA authorizes funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program, the only federal funding source that supports efforts by regional health care systems to improve preparedness and response. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and others at the hearing noted the need to better fund the HPP. “In terms of resources, the HPP budget of $250 million is down from $515 million at its inception,” noted witness Tom Inglesby, M.D., director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. “This is worrisome, given what we have learned about how hard it is to prepare to provide mass care for the range of emergencies experienced by Americans.” Also testifying at the hearing were representatives from the Tennessee Department of Health, flu vaccine maker Seqirus and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council. Earlier this month, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Hospital Preparedness Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4776), AHA-supported legislation that would authorize $515 million annually for the program through fiscal year 2023, double the current appropriation level.
 

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