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Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Spending Package Includes Emergency Funding to Fight Ebola

December 12, 2014—Included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 83) approved by the House Dec. 11, is $5.4 billion in emergency supplemental spending to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and bolster domestic preparedness, including most of the $6.18 billion in funding requested by the White House Nov. 5 [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 7].

Within the total is $2.7 billion for related activities through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The bulk ($1.8 billion) of the HHS funding is directed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through Sept. 30, 2019, including $1.2 billion for international response and preparedness and $571 million for CDC’s domestic Ebola response efforts.

The spending package provides $733 million for the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) available through Sept. 30, 2019, with $157 million allocated for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and $576 million for other ASPR activities. The legislation allows HHS to use these funds to support “the renovation and alteration of privately owned facilities to improve preparedness and response capability at the State and local level,” as requested by the administration.

Unlike the administration’s request, the bill also directs that “reimbursement of domestic transportation and treatment costs (other than costs paid or reimbursed by the individual’s health coverage) for an individual treated in the United States for Ebola” should be included among uses for the funding, including for patients treated both before and after the legislation is enacted. The AAMC had expressed support for addressing these sorts of expenses within the supplemental funding legislation [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 5].

Additionally, the committees direct HHS “to implement a regional strategy for designating treatment centers which balances both geographic need and the fact that different institutional capabilities may be necessary for a successful strategy,” rather than designating a treatment center in every state. Of the 35 treatment centers named Dec. 2 by the administration, 31 are AAMC-member teaching hospitals.

As requested by the White House, the spending package provides $238 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), available through Sept. 30, 2016, as well as funding to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to accelerate the development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics.

The legislation also includes support for offices within the State Department, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which, in collaboration with CDC, has been the lead agency for the U.S. response to the epidemic in West Africa.

Though the spending bill does not fulfill the administration’s request to make $1.54 billion of the total Ebola funding available through a “Contingency Fund,” the legislation allows HHS to transfer and/or merge its supplemental funding within CDC, ASPR, and NIH accounts as necessary, upon notifying Congress.

Because the funding carries the “emergency” designation, it is not subject to the discretionary spending caps established in the Budget Control Act, and therefore, does not require offsets from other spending in the legislation.

Describing that the “emergency supplemental funding for Ebola response contained in [the] measure is critical,” AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued a Dec. 12 statement lauding the House for approving the spending package and urging swift Senate passage.

Contact:

Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525
Email: trasouli@aamc.org

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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org