The AHA Friday outlined a number of actions Congress could take to help the nation prepare for the next pandemic, noting that the current pandemic also remains a challenge.

“While preparing for the next pandemic will improve our nation’s overall readiness, we cannot lose sight of the other threats that our nation faces,” AHA wrote to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., responding to a recent white paper he authored on the issue. “We urge the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee and Congress to view preparedness from an all-hazard perspective so that we can best be prepared to respond to the next emergency, whether it is man-made, a weather emergency or an emerging novel virus.”

AHA said Congress should provide at least $750 million a year in direct funding to hospitals and health systems through the Hospital Preparedness Program and create a permanent emergency fund to quickly provide additional relief when needed.

AHA also voiced support for a number of the white paper’s initial recommendations, and urged additional action to ensure continued access to telehealth services, health coverage and care.

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