The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday advanced the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018 (H.R. 6378). The bill, as amended, would authorize $264.6 million in annual funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program, down from $374.7 million currently. The bill also changes the name of HPP to the Healthcare Preparedness and Response Program. The committee did not adopt changes advocated by AHA to increase the HPP funding level to at least $515 million; explicitly permit health systems, academic medical centers and state, metropolitan and regional hospital associations to compete for HPP partnership awards; and formally keep the HPP and Public Health Emergency Preparedness Programs separate under their respective agencies. However, the amended bill does include AHA-supported changes to the Public Health Emergency Fund’s financing and uses, and AHA-supported legislation that would extend liability standards under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 to licensed health professionals who volunteer in another state during a disaster.

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