The AAMC Research and Action Institute authored a Sept. 15 report calling for a coordinated federal response to COVID-19 and providing recommendations to prepare for future pandemics.
The report, The Way Forward Starts Now: Lessons from COVID-19, builds on the AAMC’s June recommendations to Congress on future pandemic preparedness [refer to Washington Highlights, July 1] and its July 2020 report with 11 evidence-based actions to reset the trajectory of the United States’ initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new report addresses the nation’s response to COVID-19 and provides specific guidance to best prepare for future public health threats.
“Federal leadership — with state and local cooperation — could implement many of these recommendations within the next few months and years. The AAMC Research and Action Institute urges policymakers to put specific changes in motion now, such as consulting with industry and academia to ensure that testing is widely and immediately available,” said Research and Action Institute Executive Director Atul Grover, MD, PhD, in a press statement.
“It is not a matter of if there will be another pandemic, it is a question of when and how well-prepared the nation will be to protect communities against the next national public health emergency,” added AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD.
The institute has identified three central themes to improve the nation’s overall pandemic preparedness:
- Coordinated leadership of Cabinet members via the transparent authority of the White House.
- Supply chain redundancy by defining which Strategic National Stockpile equipment and supplies are critical to testing, care, and research for a clear and specific time period and having a way to track these assets in real time.
- Sustained investments and partnerships in public health and human resources in health care.
The report contains 10 recommendations within those themes to effectively address current challenges and prepare for future threats over the next five years. The report’s recommendations include:
- White House leadership of the national pandemic response and coordination of policies, procedures, infrastructure, core materials, and supply chains at the federal level.
- Federal commitment to advance purchases of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, as well as to engage industry and research universities at the outset of the next public health emergency.
- Federal and state government relaxation of regulatory restrictions on clinical care —regulatory, licensing, and billing requirements — during a national emergency.
- Federal expansion and improvement of health insurance, including making it available regardless of employment status.
- Federal and state action to increase the supply and well-being of physicians and other health professionals.