Bipartisan Senate Legislation Could Boost U.S. Public Health Preparedness

August 19, 2021 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has shed light on the U.S. healthcare system’s wide range of issues, from accessibility to barriers and social determinants of health. The country must respond with strategies to address future public health emergencies, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee said in an April 2021 letter.

In the letter, HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), outlined the committee’s plan to improve the country’s public health infrastructure and medical preparedness by reviewing and recommending plans for public health infrastructure, medical emergencies, and response programs at the state and local levels. Specifically, the committee intends to focus on:

“As we work to end this pandemic, we must not forget the missteps that made it so much more painful for families or fail to take action to be better prepared when the next crisis strikes,” Murray said

In the letter, both senators said that the committee intends to consider legislative proposals to bring forward a public health and preparedness package in early fall 2021.

“This pandemic isn’t over yet, but now is the time to take stock of the lessons learned over the last year and to begin preparing for the next potential threat,” Burr said. “We need an honest accounting of the successes and shortcomings in our response to the novel coronavirus so we can accurately fill the gaps in our public health architecture.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the country’s healthcare system to reprioritize and reinvent certain aspects of care, and ONS is committed to ensuring all patients are able to receive that care. Join nurses across the country in battling for an all-inclusive healthcare network that will offer lasting benefits even beyond the pandemic.


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