Washington DC- Following a second case of Ebola in Dallas, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), a member of the Senate HELP Committee, called for additional investment in a hospital preparedness program that has been cut by 50% since 2003. In 2013, Casey passed into law the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA) which reauthorized and updated the government’s response to pandemic outbreaks. In his letter to Senate appropriators Casey made the case for increased funding to the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) which works to improve preparedness at hospitals and increase surge capacity during a public health emergency.
“We have to ensure that hospitals and medical facilities have the resources they need to protect public health,” Senator Casey said. “Chronic underfunding for vital public health programs like the Hospital Preparedness Program presents challenges for doctors and nurses in emergency situations. The drastic cuts that have hit the Hospital Preparedness Program should be reversed.”
According to HHS, the HPP works through grants and cooperative agreements to States, territories, and eligible municipalities to improve surge capacity and enhance community and hospital preparedness for public health emergencies. The funding for HPP is significantly below authorized levels, and has not yet recovered to pre-sequestration levels.