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

The AHA shared a series of proposals to strengthen rural health care with the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing May 16 titled, “Rural Health Care:…
The House May 15 passed legislation reauthorizing the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program (H.R. 6960) for an additional five years, providing…
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health May 16 passed a number of bills during a markup session, including AHA-supported legislation. The…
AHA submitted a statement May 8 to the House Ways and Means Committee for a markup session on proposed legislation impacting telehealth access for patients and…
Mounting pressures on the health care workforce have created a crisis with short-term staffing shortages and a long-range picture of an unfulfilled talent…
AHA submitted a statement to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health for a hearing April 30 on proposed legislation to address Medicaid access and…