PREVENT Pandemics Act takes common sense steps to act on lessons learned from the pandemic response and improve the nation’s preparedness for future public health emergencies
Public health experts, officials, and industry stakeholders applaud important steps in bipartisan bill
Washington, D.C. – Earlier this week, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ranking Member, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), released a discussion draft of the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act), bipartisan legislation focused on strengthening the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation is the result of months of bipartisan work to examine what has worked, and what has not, during the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and incorporates ideas from multiple members on both sides of the aisle. This draft legislation lays the groundwork to build a stronger public health and medical preparedness and response system.
Coverage and response to the news below:
Response from public health officials, experts, and industry:
American Public Health Association: Thank you, @PattyMurray & @SenatorBurr, for taking the lead on this bipartisan plan to improve the U.S. response to pandemics. Strengthening our public health system & workforce will help us better prepare the nation for the next public health emergency.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: An important set of bold new proposals are included in this draft plan from @SenateHELP @PattyMurray @SenatorBurr Learning from our failures, this bill will be a critical first step in improving pandemic preparedness for future public health threats.
Anita Cicero, deputy director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: It really kind of resets the conversation around this and provides a bipartisan vehicle for making progress.
National Association of County and City Health Officials: Thank you, @PattyMurray and @SenatorBurr for including a #publichealth workforce loan repayment program in the PREVENT Pandemics Act. This @NACCHOalerts priority would be a real game changer to help recruit and retain a workforce for the future.
Big Cities Health Coalition: Thank you @PattyMurray and @SenatorBurr for your #leadership in thinking about our #PublicHealth needs for future pandemics. We look forward to working with you on these important policy issues
Trauma Center Association Of America: Thank you Chair @HELPCmteDems & Ranking Member @GOPHELP for also including S. 3566, http://ow.ly/OYs350HOBMe, in the discussion draft of a the bipartisan PREVENT Pandemics Act, that was released last week for stakeholder feedback.
Association for Psychological Science: This bill would create a #publichealth info & comms advisory committee that would include experts in #psychology. Since the pandemic's onset, we have encouraged #psychologicalscience expertise be integrated into COVID response/pandemic preparedness - we're excited to see this!
Health Center Advocacy Network: Thankful for the leadership by @PattyMurray and @SenatorBurr on pandemic response. Extending the current Health Center Volunteer Health Professionals program is important as COVID-19 continues to strain the health center workforce.
Public Health – Seattle and King County: Improving our country’s pandemic preparedness is essential. We’re grateful for Senator @PattyMurray 's leadership and bipartisan support to advance this important work.
Nikki Teran, Biosecurity Fellow at Institute for Progress: The Prepare for and respond to existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act) is even better than the name*. If you want some highlights, hop on and join my read along. Let's dive in. [thread]
*and I thoroughly enjoy the name
Anand Parekh, M.D., Chief Medical Advisor at Bipartisan Policy Center: Kudos to @HELPCmteDems & @GOPHELP for releasing today's pandemic preparedness discussion draft. Good to see a number of proposals align with @BPC_Bipartisan Future of Health Task Force recommendations on pandemic preparedness”
Mary Woolley, President and CEO of Research!America: Research!America applauds Senate HELP Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) for their leadership and foresight in introducing a draft bill: the PREVENT Pandemics Act(link is external).
It is encouraging to see critically needed bipartisan efforts to ensure our nation acts now to preempt and prepare for future global health threats. It is essential for our nation to learn from – and act on – the struggles of the past two years.
There is no way to predict when the next pandemic will occur. There may be no respite before we face another variant of COVID-19 or another global infectious disease outbreak. If we fail to turn now to out-smarting and out-innovating the next threat, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to the tangible risk of millions of needless deaths and trillions in emergency spending going forward.
The bipartisan discussion draft Sens. Murray and Burr released creates an extraordinarily solid and thoughtful framework for the input they seek. We urge Congress to continue to work across the aisle to protect our health and our future by fully preparing now for the next health crisis.
Derek Young, Chair, Pierce County Council and Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health: Sen. @PattyMurray introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen our public health system, which includes an independent task force to review our response to the COVID pandemic similar to the one envisioned by @NACoTweets. I’m grateful for her leadership.
Health Industry Distributors Association: We thank Chairwoman @PattyMurray & Ranking Member @SenatorBurr for valuing input from health industry distributors to craft bipartisan, forward-looking legislation that understands the vital role of public-private partnerships in managing medical supplies during a pandemic.
Mary R. Gealy, President at Health Leadership Council: Senators Murray and Burr have done a comprehensive job analyzing our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and assessing where we need to fill gaps in care delivery, in our health data infrastructure, and in our supply chain. Congress should continue to advance this legislation with the same bipartisan cooperation we’ve seen from these two senators.
The human devastation from this pandemic would have been far worse if not for the private sector re-tooling assembly lines and ramping up production, sharing critical data, making rapid adjustments to supply chains, and revamping patient care protocols to meet peak demands. Private sector engagement in disaster preparedness and response should not be done on an ad hoc basis. We need a collaborative system with well-conceived plans in place for the next time the unthinkable becomes our new reality.
Blair Childs, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at Premier: Congratulations to Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) for their leadership in developing a discussion draft of the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act). We need to act now while our experiences are fresh. The discussion draft includes many of Premier’s recommendations around strengthening the Strategic National Stockpile, mitigating drug and device shortages, and maintaining supply chain integrity.
Premier will continue to advocate for additions to modernize the nation’s supply chain data infrastructure, incentivize domestic manufacturing, and expand clinical surveillance technology in nursing homes.
Color: The PREVENT Pandemics Act will help to ensure that essential healthcare services are accessible, equitable, and effective *before* a crisis arrives. We are glad to see this critical legislation in motion. Together, let's bring public health to life.
Coverage of the announcement:
Washington Post: Two senators have a bipartisan plan to tackle future pandemics
“It’s a rare bipartisan bright spot amid a pandemic that’s polarized the country and politicized everything from masks, to vaccines, to coronavirus treatments. But muscling through legislation during an election year is tough, especially since fewer bills move through Congress as campaign season gets underway.
“Two dynamics to bear in mind: Murray has a track record of passing bipartisan legislation crafted in the committee she leads. And Burr, who has a history of passing pandemic preparedness legislation, is retiring at the end of the year.” [Rachel Roubein, 1/26/22]
Stat: Key senators propose an overhaul of how the U.S. prepares for pandemics
“A powerful, bipartisan duo of senators wants to empower Congress to ensure the government’s response to the next pandemic is far smoother than it was on Covid-19.
“One of the most significant policies in the plan, released in a draft on Tuesday, would create a 9/11-style bipartisan commission to formally investigate the United States’ pandemic response — a proposal that has failed to gain traction until now. Another would require Senate confirmation for the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The sweeping measure, which was in the works for nearly a year, is the product of negotiations between Senate health committee chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and ranking member Richard Burr (R-N.C.).” [Rachel Cohrs, 1/25/22]
Bloomberg: U.S. Senators Aim to Reform Health Agencies Before Next Pandemic
“Two influential senators are calling for an overhaul of the U.S.’s public health programs in a new bill that would change how the government monitors disease outbreaks, stockpiles supplies, and responds to future pandemic threats.
The legislation, released as a draft on Tuesday, also aims to refocus the mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The proposal is being made by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which is led by its Chair Patty Murray, a Democratic Senator for Washington state, and ranking member Richard Burr, a Republican Senator for North Carolina.” [Riley Griffin, 1/25/22]
Business Insider: Top senators propose bipartisan panel to investigate COVID's origin and the US response
“Murray chairs the Senate Health committee and Burr is the top Republican, giving their legislation a bipartisan stamp of approval that could greatly aid its chances in becoming law. Their legislation is called the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act or the PREVENT Pandemics Act.
“Outside of the task force, Murray and Burr call for a series of sweeping reforms that appear to address many of the frustrations that lawmakers and public health officials have zeroed in on over the course of the pandemic.” [Brend D. Griffiths, 1/26/22]
The Hill: Bipartisan senators unveil bill to improve pandemic preparedness
“The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday released a proposal for wide-ranging legislation aimed at improving the U.S. preparedness for pandemics after the many shortcomings in the response to COVID-19.
“The discussion draft from Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) includes proposals on topics such as improving data collection, speeding up the development of vaccines and treatments, and improving public health communication.” [Peter Sullivan, 1/25/22]
CNN: Senators propose bipartisan legislation to bolster pandemic preparedness and examine US Covid-19 response
“Among the proposals in the bill is the creation of a task force to probe the US' Covid-19 response and ‘examine the initial emergence’ of the virus. The legislation would also seek to strengthen supply chain stockpiles of medical products, require Senate confirmation for the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and improve public health communication to better address misinformation.” [Paul LeBlanc, 1/25/22]
Politico: Senators seek to make CDC director subject to confirmation
“The broader pandemic preparedness bill, dubbed the ‘PREVENT Pandemics Act’” is aimed at bolstering response capacity, public health data, research, the public health workforce and remedying supply issues.
“It calls for a bipartisan-appointed 9/11-style commission on the Covid-19 response and the virus’ emergence and would mandate a final report be delivered within a year, with a potential six-month extension. [Ben Leonard, 1/25/22]
Fierce Healthcare: Senate health leaders preview bipartisan plan to overhaul the nation's public health response
“The heads of a key Senate health committee released a bipartisan road map Tuesday outlining how the legislative branch will review the government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and take a more proactive approach to the next public health emergency.” [Dave Muoio, 1/26/22]
Homeland Preparedness News: Sens. Murray, Burr release discussion draft of PREVENT Pandemics Act in effort to improve public health systems
“Trying to bolster U.S. public health and medical preparedness and response systems after COVID-19 exposed their flaws, U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) have released a discussion draft of a new bill calling for overhaul across the board.
“Known as the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act), the bipartisan legislation follows examinations of the nation’s responses, both successful and not, to the ongoing pandemic. Its discussion draft borrows ideas from both sides of the political aisle, and among other important changes, would create a new Independent COVID-19 task force to properly review and evaluate the COVID-19 response, as well as its gaps and breakdowns.” [Chris Galford, 1/27/22]
A section-by-section available HERE.
Legislative text for discussion draft available HERE.