Senate Committee Passes Disaster Preparedness Legislation
On Wednesday, December 14, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed the reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), S. 1855. The bill includes important provisions that will enhance and improve our ability to react and respond to public health emergencies, including reviewing the nation’s biosurveillance systems and improving the Strategic National Stockpile. Additionally, the legislation takes steps to improve children and infants’ access to medical countermeasures during an emergency. However, the bill does not go far enough to ensure that public health departments have the flexibility to reassign staff during a public health emergency. The House of Representatives passed their version of the legislation earlier in December, and House and Senate negotiators will meet to merge the two bills and to work out policy differences.
Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreements
Funding Opportunity Announcement for the Public Health Emergency Planning (PHEP) and Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) has been released.
Threats to human health and national health security are always present. Whether caused by natural, unintentional, or intentional means, these threats can rapidly overwhelm public health and healthcare systems. Preparing governmental jurisdictions, communities, health and emergency response systems, and other Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 partners to prevent, protect against, respond to, mitigate, and rapidly recover from these threats is critical for protecting and securing our nation’s healthcare system and public health infrastructure.
HPP-PHEP Grant Alignment
Public health and healthcare preparedness is achieved when component partners at the federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and nongovernmental levels work in synergy to prepare for, respond to, and rapidly recover from health security incidents and emergencies.
To advance all-hazards preparedness and national health security, promote responsible stewardship of federal funds, and reduce awardee administrative burden, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are aligning the administrative and programmatic aspects of the ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and the CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreements. This funding opportunity announcement describes the ASPR and CDC terms and conditions of the award, the overall purpose of the HPP and PHEP programs, and strategies for achieving program outcomes.
As ASPR and CDC align the two preparedness programs, which represent critical sources of funding and support to our nation’s public health and healthcare preparedness systems, ASPR and CDC are committed to the following goals:
■ Increase program impact and advance preparedness
■ Reduce awardee burden and enhance customer service provided to states and localities
■ Improve federal efficiencies
■ Promote innovation
■ Demonstrate a clear return on investment and communicate preparedness accomplishments to help ensure sustainability of the PHEP and HPP cooperative agreements
This alignment has resulted in several key changes for the 2012 HPP-PHEP grant cycle. Among the changes are a single HPP-PHEP funding opportunity announcement, funding application, and grant award. An aligned grant cycle is also being implemented, as well as aligned reporting requirements. The annual HPP-PHEP grant cycle will begin July 1 and end June 30.
The new HPP-PHEP project period is five years. Funding applications for Budget Period 1 of the new cooperative agreements are May 2, 2012. Budget Period 1 begins July 1, 2012. Funding is intended to help awardees demonstrate measurable and sustainable progress toward achieving the public health and healthcare preparedness capabilities outlined in this guidance and other activities that promote safer and more resilient communities.