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Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, H.R. 2405, a measure that will improve our nation's medical preparedness and response capabilities.
I am especially pleased to see that this bill takes important steps to ensure that our medical response systems are prepared to care for the critically ill and injured in the aftermath of a public health emergency.
As you can imagine, when we face a health emergency such as a flu pandemic, the critical care delivery system is an integral component of our nation's medical response. Yet, up to this point, critical care medicine has been largely under-contemplated in our national health policy.
Earlier this year, I introduced the bipartisan Critical Care Assessment Act, H.R. 971, with my colleague from Minnesota, ERIK PAULSEN. This measure seeks to identify gaps in the current critical care delivery model and bolster our capabilities to meet future demands.
I am pleased that the measure before us today includes two important provisions from my bill to improve federal disaster preparedness efforts to care for the critically ill and injured.
Notably, the reauthorization bill adds critical care to the priorities within the nation's medical preparedness goals. When a natural disaster strikes or a pandemic sweeps the nation, the demands on critical care increase exponentially, and I am pleased to see this language that recognizes the importance of treating the critically ill and injured in a public health emergency.
Additionally, the reauthorization bill improves efforts to ensure that the systems we have in place to address surge capacity will work effectively and efficiently during an emergency. Specifically, the bill includes language to provide for periodic evaluation and testing of the databases intended to ensure medical surge capacity.
As we learned during Hurricane Katrina and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, having a system in place for the effective deployment of needed medical personnel and supplies is vital for the care of the critically ill and injured.
I would like to thank Chairman Upton, Chairman Pitts, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working with me to recognize the importance of critical care preparedness by including these important provisions. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure we have a robust critical care infrastructure.
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