Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and 10 additional original co-sponsors introduced the Mobile Options for Testing In Our Neighborhoods (MOTION) Act (H.R. 8017) on Aug. 11 with support from the AAMC.
The bill would authorize $400 million for academic medical centers, health centers, rural health clinics, state and local health departments, and other entities to establish, equip, and expand mobile units to deliver COVID-19 diagnostic testing services to underserved communities.
“This bill expands coronavirus testing in hard-to-reach communities and is critical for those that lack access to medical facilities for testing, or those that don’t have access to vehicles or have difficulty accessing traditional walk-up or drive-through testing locations. I’m eager to see this pass through the House and I urge the Senate and President to support this much-needed service,” said Rep. Mucarsel-Powell in the press release.
In an Aug. 11 letter endorsing the legislation, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, highlighted the importance of expanding access to testing.
“In addition to ongoing testing bottlenecks stemming from supply chain issues and other challenges, access to the nation’s existing diagnostic testing capacity has been uneven, particularly for underserved communities. The residents of these communities may face challenges finding and reaching traditional testing sites due to transportation limitations or other barriers,” she wrote.
Fisher also praised the bill’s sponsors in the lawmakers’ statement announcing the bill, describing how the bill aligns with recommendations in The Way Forward on COVID-19: A Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the Pandemic, which the AAMC released on July 29.
“Among 11 evidence-based actions in the AAMC’s recently released national road map to address the current public health emergency are recommendations to increase the availability and accessibility of testing and to address and resolve health inequities. This bill, particularly when implemented with a commitment to community engagement, would take an important step toward these goals,” she said.