Public Health and Medical Preparedness and Response: Issues in the 110th Congress Page: 3 of 6
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State Grants for Public Health and Hospital Preparedness. Since 2002,
Congress has provided more than $9 billion in grants to states to strengthen public health
and hospital preparedness for public health threats. The PAHPA extended the programs,
adding authority to withhold funds for failure to meet program requirements, a state
matching requirement, and a requirement that the Secretary of HHS publish certain
information about program activities and performance on a public website.s
Biodefense Research. Several federal agencies support biodefense research.
These include the Science and Technology Directorate in DHS, the National Institutes of
Health in HHS, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA). The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) was
recently established by DHS to study biological threats, assess vulnerabilities and
potential consequences, and establish a national capability for forensic analysis of
evidence from bio-crimes and terrorism. DHS has also requested funding to build a new
facility, the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), to house high-containment
laboratories for the study of foreign animal diseases, such as Foot and Mouth Disease.6
Project BioShield. The 108th Congress launched Project BioShield to encourage
the development of countermeasures that lack commercial markets. In the PAHPA, the
109th Congress required the HHS Secretary to develop and publish a strategic plan to
guide HHS countermeasures research, development, and procurement. The act also
established the Biodefense Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
in HHS to help implement the strategic plan, support countermeasure development, and
facilitate communication between the government and developers. The 110th Congress
is likely to remain interested in the progress of Project BioShield and, depending on
appropriations, to oversee the establishment and effectiveness of BARDA.7
Vulnerable Populations. The terrorist attacks of 2001 and the hurricanes of 2005
showed that some people may be at greater risk, or more in need of special services,
during and following a disaster. The PAHPA required the Secretary of HHS to consider,
in planning, the needs of at-risk individuals, defined as children, pregnant women, senior
citizens, and others as determined by the Secretary. The PKA required the head of FEMA
to appoint a Disability Coordinator, charged, among other things, with coordinating
emergency management policies and practices for individuals with disabilities.
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness. To prepare for the threat of a human flu
pandemic, the 109th Congress provided $6.1 billion in emergency supplemental funding
for FY2006. Most of this funding supports an HHS initiative to expand domestic vaccine
s See CRS Report RL33589.
6 See CRS Report RL32891, The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center:
Issues for Congress, by Dana A. Shea, and CRS Report RL34160, The National Bio- and
Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress, by Dana A. Shea, Jim Monke, and Frank Gottron.
7 See CRS Report RS21507, Project BioShield: Purposes and Authorities, by Frank Gottron;
CRS Report RL33907, Project BioShield: Appropriations, Acquisitions, and Policy
Implementation Issues for Congress, by Frank Gottron; and CRS Report RL33589.
8 See CRS Report RS22254, The Americans with Disabilities Act and Emergency Preparedness
and Response, by Nancy Lee Jones; CRS Report RL33589; and CRS Report RL33729.
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Public Health and Medical Preparedness and Response: Issues in the 110th Congress, report, February 13, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc805711/m1/3/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.