The Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee April 26 released a discussion draft to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA). The discussion draft, “The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018” (PAHPAI) aims to build upon lessons learned from past public health emergencies, such as the Zika and Ebola outbreaks and the most recent hurricane season.
The discussion draft aims to clarify various measures of PAHPA and the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act Reauthorization Act of 2011 (PAHPRA), and would require the evaluation of existing performance measures. As an example, the discussion draft clarifies that the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement will be administered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, the draft requires the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to evaluate existing performance measures and standards and to develop guidelines to inform regional systems of hospitals. The draft also would extend the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) through 2023.
The proposed legislation is bipartisan, sponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), and HELP Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Burr, said of the draft, “Fostering and leveraging innovative technologies to improve our preparedness and response capabilities will encourage a nimble and flexible response to new and changing public health threats affecting our national security. These policies will improve existing tools and encourage new technologies to better protect the American people.”
Similarly, Sen. Murray praised the bill’s bipartisanship, saying, “I’m glad we could put together a bipartisan bill that reinforces our vigilance against emerging disease outbreaks, pandemics, and other threats – including by bolstering critical work to combat antimicrobial resistance, and focusing on the diverse needs of everyone jeopardized by a public health threat.”