Leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee today released for comment until Feb. 4 a discussion draft of bipartisan legislation to strengthen the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a committee summary, the PREVENT Pandemics Act would:

  • create a bipartisan task force to review the COVID-19 response; 
  • require a strategic plan for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Senate to confirm the agency’s director; 
  • give the Secretary of Health and Human Services additional authority to coordinate the federal response to a public health emergency, and contract with public and private entities to more rapidly develop diagnostic tests for emerging infectious diseases; 
  • direct the CDC director to disseminate standards to improve the exchange of public health data and reporting; 
  • establish a “warm-base” domestic manufacturing surge capacity for medical countermeasures; 
  • require the HHS secretary to report regularly on the contents of the Strategic National Stockpile and ensure items are in working condition; 
  • award funds to recruit and train community health workers; 
  • require HHS to report to Congress on ways to improve access to mental health and substance use disorder services during an emergency; 
  • create an “advanced platform technology” designation to speed development and review of new treatments and countermeasures; 
  • require makers of certain critical medical devices to maintain a redundancy risk management plan; and
  • create a pilot program to develop novel manufacturing approaches for critical drugs, among other provisions. 

The committee will accept feedback on the discussion draft by email at HELPPandemicbill@help.senate.gov.  

Related News Articles

Climate change could increase flooding from hurricanes for hospitals in highly populated areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, according to a study…
The House today voted 230-201 to pass a continuing resolution extending current federal funding levels for health care and other programs through Dec. 16. The…
The House today passed legislation that would suspend through 2022 tariffs on certain infant formula base powders used to make infant formula in the United…
The Senate today voted 72-25 to pass and send to the House a continuing resolution that would extend current federal funding levels for health care and…
The AHA and Federation of American Hospitals today urged Congress to oppose H.R.1330/S.4130 and any other legislation that would repeal or weaken current…
The Senate Finance Committee today released a discussion draft of legislation to expand the mental health workforce. According to a summary of the provisions,…