Congress Tackles Vital Public Health Legislation

HIDA Government Affairs Update

While the delay of the medical device tax and recent cuts to the corporate tax rate have been top-of-mind for healthcare distributors and manufacturers, lawmakers will soon take up another piece of vital healthcare legislation. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) is up for its third reauthorization this fall and shapes the way key public health agencies respond to outbreaks and natural disasters.

This legislation is vital for ensuring medical products are available when and where they are needed during a crisis, but it needs to contain the right provisions. HIDA and the Healthcare Products Coalition have developed a set of principles that, if included in the reauthorization, will strengthen the healthcare supply chain and ensure federal experts will be able to draw on private sector expertise. Below is a summary of these principles:

  1. Formalize public/private partnerships to ensure continuity during times of disaster. Medical products are key to any emergency or pandemic response. To address the supply of these needed goods, the healthcare supply chain must be more elastic. Supply chain leaders and the Strategic National Stockpile have developed a model that can ensure a commercial “cushion” of key products can be maintained and ready to deploy when needed. The law should take steps to formalize and implement this model.

  2. Create a ‘national contingency healthcare system’ which would allow suppliers to divert needed products to where they are needed most. During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the CDC worked with state and local emergency response stakeholders to create a three-tier hospital system. Acute care facilities were designated as either “Frontline Healthcare Facilities,” “Ebola Assessment Hospitals,” or Ebola Treatment Centers.” Building and formalizing this approach so it ould be used during any public health crisis would allow distributors and manufacturers to direct critical medical products to the facilitie and patients who need them most.

  3. Develop transparent communication pathways between public and private partners. Providers and federal officials at the local, state, and federal level all rely on the healthcare supply chain. Thus, these parties, along with healthcare distributors and manufacturers, must consistently communicate their capabilities and expectations so all can efficiently respond to emergencies.

  4. Create an emergency response fund and pass necessary appropriations measures. Preparing for a public health emergency requires training and investment. Creating multi-year funding and an emergency contingency fund would allow a faster response to aid those affected by disaster. These funds would also provide stability during the recovery period.

Be sure to tell your representatives that you care about PAHPA and the vital role healthcare distributors and manufacturers play in emergency preparedness. If you would like to learn more about the legislation and how you can get involved, please contact us at