House passes reauthorization of PAHPA

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act last week with a 383-16 vote and sent the bill to the Senate.

H.R. 6672 would provide reauthorization to biothreat preparedness programs, particularly programs that allow for the development of medical countermeasures to biological terrorism or serious pandemics, HS Today reports.

"The bill will reauthorize critically important bio-defense programs designed to promote the continued development of medical countermeasures ... that would strengthen the nation's public health preparedness infrastructure," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said, according to HS Today.

If approved, the law would allow for the temporary redeployment of federally funded personnel during public health emergencies. The provision would give states the ability to request that public health personnel be reassigned from other Department of Health and Human Services-funded grant programs during emergencies.

The bill would also establish the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters to provide pediatric preparedness recommendations, call for coordination between U.S. biosurveillance systems and provide HHS grantees with the limited ability to carry over federal grants for long-term planning and flexibility.

Jeff Levi, the executive director of Trust for America's Health, praised the House's passage of PAHPRA and recommended quick passage by the Senate, HS Today reports.

"In 2006, PAHPA greatly strengthened the nation's preparedness and response planning," Levi said, according to PAHPRA. "Now, in 2012, PAHPRA provides an opportunity to update the statute to more adequately address ongoing and emerging challenges in public health preparedness - and to ensure public health has the resources and support necessary to prepare for and respond to a disease outbreak, severe weather event, act of terrorism or other public health emergency."