The AAMC responded to a March 15 request for information (RFI) from Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), HELP Committee Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, MD, (R-La.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on the reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA).
The RFI sought feedback on the PAHPA programs’ effectiveness, but also asked for comments on gaps in the measure’s framework and implementation, gaps in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ capabilities, and opportunities for Congress to improve partnerships with states, localities, community-based organizations, and private sector and nongovernment stakeholders. It also asked for feedback on how programs, such as the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreements and the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), can be improved to ensure state, local, and health system readiness.
In its response, the AAMC recommended renewing the HPP’s authorization and providing the program with robust funding levels, as well as establishing related clinical networks that fund hospitals directly, such as the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Centers, Regional Emerging Special Pathogens Treatment Centers, and the Regional Disaster Health Response System, separately to distinguish them from the HPP. Among other recommendations, the AAMC’s response also emphasized the importance of bolstering not just pandemic preparedness, but also clinical preparedness.
The Senate RFI follows the House RFI issued by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) on Feb. 27. The AAMC submitted comments to the House PAHPA reauthorization RFI on March 10 [refer to Washington Highlights, March 17].
Programs authorized through PAHPA are set to expire on Sept. 30.