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May 24, 2019 (Cleveland)

U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Fund Emergency Preparedness Activities



  U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Fund Emergency Preparedness ActivitiesProgress is underway on federal legislation to authorize continued funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP). Grant dollars awarded under the HPP support emergency preparedness activities led by The Center for Health Affairs in Northeast Ohio.

With funding set to expire this year, the U.S. House of Representatives twice passed reauthorization bills – once in late 2018 and again in early 2019 – but until this month the Senate hadn’t taken action. Finally on May 8, Sen. Bill Burr (R-NC) introduced legislation in the Senate that moved quickly and was voted out of that chamber just eight days later. The Center for Health Affairs sent letters in early December to Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman emphasizing the importance of the program to the preparedness work in Northeast Ohio and urging their support of continued funding. 

The new bill, S. 1379, now awaits action in the House. Given the earlier passage of similar legislation in that chamber by wide margins, the House is expected to act favorably.

Although the funding reauthorization had stalled in Congress, work continued at the state and local levels. The Center responded early this year to a funding announcement by the Ohio Department of Health, which administers the federal grant dollars to the various regions of the state under the HPP. The funding request was met favorably and The Center will be receiving $750,068 for fiscal year 2020. These dollars will provide continued support for emergency preparedness activities under the HPP, including meeting deliverables related to developing, testing and improving response plans.

These activities have proven their value when hospitals, first responders and others have been called on during public health events, like the Ebola outbreak, as well as during activities like the 2016 Republican National Convention. Currently, hospitals and others around the region are working collaboratively to prepare for the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game this summer, including planning an exercise that will test response to a terrorist event scenario.

MORE: For more information on The Center’s emergency preparedness activities, contact us.

TWEETABLE: U.S. Senate votes to fund #emergencypreparedness activities; @neohospitals is awarded FY2020 Hospital Preparedness Program grant