The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act — which if enacted by Congress would strengthen emergency response programs for state, local and public health practitioners. The vote cleared the House by a 383-16 vote.

PAHPRA letter to House

In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, APHA and other health leaders called for provisions to the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2012, which passed Wednesday in a House vote. Photo by APHA

The original law passed in December 2006, creating programs designed “to improve the Nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response capabilities for emergencies, whether deliberate, accidental, or natural.”

Its updated statute would implement public health resources for emergencies including acts of terrorism, severe weather incidents and disease outbreak.

In letters to the House and Senate, Georges  Benjamin, MD, APHA’s executive director,  and others called for provisions in the new legislation, including:

  • temporary redeployment of federally funded personnel during a public health emergency;
  • reauthorization of the Public Health and Emergency Preparedness Grants;
  • reauthorization of the Hospital Preparedness Program;
  • carryover of grant use, coordination, updating preparedness programs at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services;
  • programs  for children’s preparedness;
  • enhancing situational awareness and biosurveillance; and
  • programs for individuals with disabilities.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and Trust For America’s Health also signed the letters.