U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today praised Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passage of S. 3678, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, legislation he cosponsored.
“I am proud to cosponsor this important bill to better prepare Tennessee and our country for a public health emergency of any sort – a tornado, the pandemic flu, or a terrorist attack,” said Alexander.
This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), reauthorizes the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which was signed into law following the terrorist attacks of September 11th and will expire at the end of September 2006.
This bill makes additions to that law to further prepare the country for a public health emergency of any kind. Specifically, the bill:
· Identifies the Secretary of Health and Human Services as the lead federal official responsible for public health emergency preparedness and response so that one person will be in charge of public health during an emergency;
· Reauthorizes grants to states to continue strengthening state and local response capabilities;
· Reauthorizes grants to hospitals for preparedness efforts and to improve their ability to treat large numbers of patients during a public health emergency;
· Provides grants to states to increase the public health workforce so that we have well-trained people working in our local health departments; and
· Helps encourage and coordinate healthcare volunteers during emergencies.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act will now go to the full Senate for consideration