AHA supports the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s bipartisan reauthorization of the hospital and public health preparedness programs contained within S. 2852, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018. “America’s hospitals and health systems play a critical role in all types of disaster and public health emergencies, and we share the Committee’s goal of improving our nation’s preparedness and response capabilities and capacities,” AHA said in a letter to HELP Committee leaders. Among other provisions, AHA expressed support for the bill’s provision reauthorizing the Hospital Preparedness Program. However, AHA said the 2.7% increase in authorized funding “may be inadequate to ensure that the health care delivery system is ready to respond to and recover from the ever-changing and growing threats.” Instead, AHA urged the committee to increase the HPP’s authorization level to at least $515 million for fiscal years 2019 through 2023, “representing a more appropriate level of investment in emergency preparedness as threats and risks continue to emerge.” In addition, AHA expressed disappointment that the bill does “not permit in the awarding of HPP funds, hospital associations, academic medical centers, and health systems to compete, alongside the state and directly-funded city public health departments, for being the awardee in each jurisdiction.” The Senate HELP Committee will markup the bill tomorrow.
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