Bipartisan Pandemic and Preparedness Bill Passes Congress

The U.S. House of Representatives on June 4 passed S.1379, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019, which the Senate had passed in May. The bill, which provides healthcare workforce training, stockpiles vaccines and medical equipment in the case of an emergency, and re-funds the Hospital Preparedness Program, among many other provisions, now heads to the White House, where the president indicated he plans to sign it.
Another bill provision directs the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to develop guidelines for hospitals to follow when treating patients affected by chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear threats, as well as emerging infectious diseases.
“The guidelines will build on lessons learned from the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 and will provide a roadmap for regions across the country to best leverage their health system infrastructure in the event of a bioterror attack, an emerging infectious disease outbreak, or a pandemic,” according to a Senate summary of the law. The new law would also bolster medical surge capacity.