Disaster Preparedness

State of Play:  Every September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with 3,000 global, national, regional, and local governments, as well as private and public health institutions, supports emergency preparedness efforts and encourages Americans to take action before, during, and after an emergency as part of National Preparedness Month.  This year, the CDC’s Center for Preparedness and Response highlighted “Prepare Your Health.”  Each week focused on personal health preparedness, pandemic planning, policy and partnerships, and public health response. CDC encourages conversations about emergency health preparedness to continue year round. 

HLC Position:  Weather-related disasters have raised awareness of their impact on the healthcare delivery system as a whole.  HLC believes that the healthcare industry plays an important role in responding to disasters and should receive priority, first responder status for emergency response.  HLC continues to communicate with the appropriate government officials to ensure that after-action reports on governmental intervention in these disasters include a focus on how access to critical healthcare facilities, supplies, and patient care can be restored when disrupted.

HLC Recent Activity:

  • On October 23, HLC participated in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR) external engagement forum to learn from Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials about the agency’s Regional Disaster Health Response System, the nation’s medical countermeasure planning and response capabilities, and HHS’s countermeasure enterprise program.
  • On July 18, HLC wrote to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in support of H.R. 6378, the “Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPA).” H.R. 6378, reported out of committee by voice vote, includes a range of measures to strengthen public health, emergency preparedness, and related functions under the coordination of ASPR. PAHPA authorizes policies and funding to bring about greater coordination among public and private health entities in large-scale disasters. The bill also contains provisions from the “Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act,” which protects medical professionals from legal liability if they volunteer their services during a disaster.
  • On June 15, HLC hosted a Capitol Hill briefing focused on what it takes to coordinate disaster recovery and avoid disruption of healthcare services and supplies. Panelists included representatives from Amerisource Bergen, Ascension, and Johnson & Johnson.
  • On June 6, HLC wrote to House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX) in support of H.R. 6378, PAHPA to improve preparedness for meeting public health and disasters, both natural and manmade.