Dingell Emergency Preparedness Legislation Passes House
WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation including provisions by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) to strengthen and evaluate emergency preparedness procedures for hospitals and long-term care facilities. Dingell wrote the Worst-Case Scenario Hospital Preparedness Act in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season, which caused flooding and power outages at hospitals and medical facilities from Florida to Puerto Rico, resulting in public health emergencies and, in some cases, loss of life. The bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Florida Republican Daniel Webster, was included as a part of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018.
“The time to prepare for a disaster is now and we must include our whole community in those plans. We have to take lessons learned from the historic disasters we have recently experienced to ensure hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities are fully prepared when disaster strikes,” said Dingell. “I’m pleased to see my bipartisan bill that will make a difference was included in this package as it advances through Congress. We have to look to new policies and procedures to improve our preparedness and readiness for future generations.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security lists health care as one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors. The included provision seeks to improve emergency preparedness across the health care system by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to engage with the most appropriate entity to conduct a comprehensive study into the future threats impacting emergency preparedness procedures for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare facilities. The study will provide Congress with a report (within 3 years) on new recommendations, benchmarks, best practices, and expert analysis on:
- current emergency preparedness programs, policies, and regulations;
- identifying gaps in preparedness and new policies that better address all future threats across the health care system;
- improving Federal grant programs to assist health care facilities;
- evaluating federal grant programs that assist healthcare facilities with expertise in emergency power systems and critical infrastructure; and
- evaluating the coordination between federal grant programs for emergency preparedness and environmental health agencies.