Congress Urged to Complete Work on Preparedness Legislation

In a letter to House and Senate leaders sent on November 13, the AVMA and 43 other organizations urged Congress to finalize and pass the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (S. 1855/H.R. 2405).  The legislation would renew and extend existing programs including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Public Health Emergency Preparedness grants.

The original Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) represented a major step in developing the role of America’s public health and medical systems in preparing for and responding to major emergencies, whether natural or man-made.  As evidenced by the recent, widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, our nation faces continuing threats that require an ongoing commitment to health preparedness. The re authorization of PAHPA is an opportunity to build more prepared and resilient communities that are able to weather a crisis, contain its impact, and return to normal as quickly as possible.

The bipartisan legislation will help advance medical countermeasure (MCM) development through increased coordination among agencies, a more transparent and consistent regulatory process, and continued commitment of government funding to incentivize industry to develop these countermeasures for which the federal government is the only customer. Strengthening the pipeline of medical products, drugs and devices that will safeguard the nation during an emergency or pandemic is vital to our national security.

The legislation also includes provisions for advancing bio-surveillance planning. The basic programs that promote preparedness at the federal, state, local, and health system level need re-authorization and implementation.

Both the House and the Senate have approved legislation reauthorizing the preparedness programs with broad bipartisan support. The House approved its bill Dec. 6, 2011, under suspension of the rules, while the Senate approved by unanimous consent its version of the measure March 7.

For more information please contact Gina Luke, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.

4 thoughts on “Congress Urged to Complete Work on Preparedness Legislation

  1. Hi Dr. Flynn-
    Thank you for your comment. Preparedness at the local and state level is very important as all responses begin and end locally.
    When the VMAT program relaunched in 2009, its focus shifted to disaster preparedness and response activities at the state level. VMAT serves three primary functions when requested by state authorities. One component of VMAT’s mission is to provide emergency preparedness and response training to state veterinary associations, veterinary professionals and veterinary colleges. VMAT members have a wealth of experience and training which they draw upon to provide training to these groups. VMAT’s other functions involve assisting states upon the request of the appropriate state authority by providing early assessment of veterinary infrastructure or basic veterinary treatment to supplement local capabilities. We fully understand the value provided by well-trained responders at the local, state and federal levels, as well as the importance of cooperation and collaboration during response efforts. All of the groups involved have the same ultimate goal of protecting human and animal health. You can learn more about VMAT’s missions at:

    • I would strongly urge some sort of debriefing of locals. By whom? What are the questions? I dont know but much could have been gained had someone – probably someone other than VMAT – debriefed the locals

  2. I would like to see the AVMA offer more to the local and regional associations that have disaster preparations instead of putting all of its efforts into the VMAT teams. I realize that techically the AVMA offers something to the states but instead of working with the states, the VMAT teams want to be in charge. Who better to know the local conditions and needs than the local veterinarians. I dealt with VMAT at 911 and instead of contributing and working with our group (we neither needed nor asked for VMAT) there was always conflict between VMAT and us locals, Probably my best suggestion would be to have the AVMA debrief the local vets and see where improvements can be made…..fwiw