The AHA today shared with President Biden the association’s initial recommendations for infrastructure investments that should be included in an upcoming legislative package to ensure hospitals and health systems are fully equipped to care for their communities now and into the future, as well as respond to any future public health emergency.
“Now, more than ever, federal investment is needed to ensure hospitals are able to meet the health care needs of patients and continue to be a source of jobs and economic stability in their communities, and often their largest employer,” AHA wrote. “As your Administration works with Congress to develop policies aimed at rebuilding our nation’s critical infrastructure, as reflected in today’s announcement, we urge you to prioritize support for health care and its vital role in addressing critical challenges including health equity, emergency preparedness, access to care and more.”
AHA’s initial recommendations included investing in hospital and health system physical infrastructure; building capacity for emergency preparedness and response capacity; expanding health care digital and data infrastructure; strengthening the health care workforce; securing the supply chain; and supporting behavioral health access.
President Biden today unveiled a roughly $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan to address some of the nation’s infrastructure challenges, including damaged bridges, unequal broadband access, and care for people with disabilities and the elderly. The American Jobs Plan is expected to be followed by a second economic package in April.
Among other policies, today’s proposal included investments in preparedness for future pandemics, including shoring up the National Strategic Stockpile and accelerating research, development and testing of therapeutics and vaccines; $18 billion for the modernization of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics; affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American, including the more than 35% of rural Americans who lack access to broadband at minimally acceptable speeds; $400 billion toward expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities.