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December 18, 2018 (Cleveland)

The Center Urges Lawmakers to Pass H.R. 6378, Reauthorize HPP

H.R. 6378The future of the hospital preparedness program (HPP) is on the line and The Center for Health Affairs is urging lawmakers to enact H.R. 6378, federal legislation preserving this critically important work.

In late September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill reauthorizing funding for the program, which expired at the end of that month. Without reauthorization, funding will run out at the end of June 2019. H.R. 6378 authorizes the continuation of the HPP through fiscal year 2023 at $385 million per year. The bill has been referred to the Senate. If that chamber fails to act, work to save the program will have to begin anew in 2019, with the start of the next session of Congress.

What’s at stake? The community’s ability to respond effectively to incidents – natural or manmade, large or small in scope – that disrupt the normal operation of healthcare services. The HPP has supported the development of an important network of relationships, the maintenance of critical equipment, and the ongoing process of testing and improving preparedness plans, all of which would begin to disintegrate in the absence of federal funding that has enabled this work to take place for the last 15 years. In Northeast Ohio, this work has proven its value during a variety of incidents over the years, from the local case of Ebola to hospital water pipes freezing.

The Center has sent letters to Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman asking for their support for the legislation. A coalition of 29 organizations, including the American Hospital Association, signed on to a letter to the leadership of both the House and Senate, urging them to pass the bill before Congress adjourns this year. The Energy & Commerce and the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committees have made tremendous, bipartisan progress on this important legislation, the coalition letter points out. With the end of the legislative session looming, the urgency has never been greater.

For more information on H.R. 6378 and The Center’s emergency preparedness work, contact us.