Nation's Healthcare Leaders Release Recommendations to Close Gaps in Disaster Readiness
Coalition offers legislative and regulatory agenda for disaster preparedness in 2023
A group of high-level healthcare leaders are calling on policymakers to take specific legislative and regulatory steps for effective collaboration between the Federal government and the nation’s healthcare system to safeguard the health of Americans in a disaster. The healthcare leaders recommend identifying one federal agency—the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response within the Department of Health and Human Services—to serve as the single point of contact and coordination for safeguarding health in major public health crises. The healthcare experts describe how a single point of contact will dramatically increase efficiency and save time in coordinating action among governmental groups, private-sector companies, and nonprofit organizations.
The experts included this recommendation among a comprehensive set of immediate actions to strengthen the United States’ ability to leverage biomedical innovations and healthcare capabilities to anticipate and respond to public health emergencies, from pandemics to natural disasters like floods, wildfires, and tornadoes. The recommendations come from the Healthcare Leadership Council—an alliance of major healthcare companies from all sectors—and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.
“The United States is better equipped to respond to disasters than it was two years ago, but alarming gaps remain in public and private sector readiness and response,” said Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council. “The private sector has the expertise and resources to protect lives in a public health emergency, but we need a more cohesive command-and-control infrastructure that enables real-time information sharing among federal and state agencies and those health providers and companies working on the ground in times of extraordinary stress.”
“The United States will continue to face disasters, which is why Congress and government entities must act now to ensure the nation can respond effectively when they occur,” said Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, founding director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. “Strong partnerships between government and the private sector are more important than ever to deploy the nation’s biomedical and healthcare capabilities to detect and respond to threats to public health—and strengthen public and population-level health in non-emergency situations.”
The recommendations highlight policy and regulatory changes in three key areas: improving federal coordination and support, promoting supply chain resiliency, and increasing health system capacity. Underlying each, experts say, are the needs to improve data collection and leverage private-public partnerships. The participating leaders say the recommendations can and should be implemented in 2023 by the Biden Administration and Congress, which will be deliberating reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) this year.
Other recommendations include:
- Creating a pre-established process for the federal government to rapidly support regional and state officials and private sector partners on the front lines of disaster responses;
- Increasing and ensuring consistency in funding for the Strategic National Stockpile;
- Engaging manufacturers of essential medicines and supplies in long-term contracts so that production can be rapidly scaled up when demand for supplies surges;
- Establishing a consistent CMS-led data reporting approach to provide better situational awareness for public and private responders, and to direct resources where they are most needed, without avoidable administrative burdens or delays;
- Providing additional resources to hospitals and health systems to support staff mental health; and
- Increasing flexibility for healthcare professionals to practice to the top of their licenses during public health emergencies to reduce workforce strain.
To learn more about the 2023 report and read the full recommendations, click here.
The report is an update to the Healthcare Leadership Council and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy’s 2021 Framework for Private-Public Collaboration on Disaster Preparedness and Response.
To speak with someone from the Healthcare Leadership Council or the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, please contact Sara Matthews, SMatthews@MessagePartnersPR.com, (281) 650-2961
About the Healthcare Leadership Council
The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of chief executives from all disciplines within American healthcare, is the exclusive forum for the nation’s healthcare leaders to jointly develop policies, plans, and programs to achieve their vision of a 21st century system that makes affordable, high-quality healthcare accessible to all Americans. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthInFocus.
About the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
The mission of the Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy at Duke University is to improve health, health equity, and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions. For more information, visit healthpolicy.duke.edu and follow us on Twitter @DukeMargolis.