Health Industry Leaders Encouraged by Senate Panel’s Draft Legislation on Pandemic Preparedness
WASHINGTON – Draft legislation released today by the bipartisan leadership of a U.S. Senate committee makes multiple important strides in making the nation better prepared for future health crises, according to the president of the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), who encouraged an emphasis on government collaboration with the private sector on disaster readiness as the measure develops.
Today, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released their draft of the PREVENT Pandemics Act, which would make major changes in the nation’s infrastructure for dealing with future public health challenges.
HLC president Mary R. Grealy said the draft legislation has several important and necessary provisions including requiring coordination among federal agencies, modernizing public health data systems, strengthening supply chain resilience and boosting domestic manufacturing of essential products, expanding programs to scale the healthcare workforce, improving mental health and substance use treatment during crises, enabling the rapid development and availability of diagnostic tests, modernizing clinical trials, and addressing health disparities.
Last year, working with 100 healthcare companies, associations, non-profit organizations and federal agencies, the Healthcare Leadership Council issued a framework for improved disaster preparedness and response that included several of the actions included in the Senate HELP Committee draft.
“Senators Murray and Burr have done a comprehensive job analyzing our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and assessing where we need to fill gaps in care delivery, in our health data infrastructure, and in our supply chain,” Ms. Grealy said. “Congress should continue to advance this legislation with the same bipartisan cooperation we’ve seen from these two senators.”
She added that, as the measure moves through the legislative process, it should emphasize what must be a critical role for the private sector in collaborating with the government on disaster preparedness and response.
“The human devastation from this pandemic would have been far worse if not for the private sector re-tooling assembly lines and ramping up production, sharing critical data, making rapid adjustments to supply chains, and revamping patient care protocols to meet peak demands. Private sector engagement in disaster preparedness and response should not be done on an ad hoc basis. We need a collaborative system with well-conceived plans in place for the next time the unthinkable becomes our new reality,” she said.
For Immediate Release
January 25, 2022
Contact: Kelly Fernandez 202-449-3452