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Mr. PAULSEN. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2012. This legislation will bolster the nation's public health preparedness infrastructure and ensure the reauthorization of programs that provide key resources to states, health departments and hospitals.
I am particularly pleased that the final legislation contains key provisions that enhance the nation's ability to care for the critically ill and injured in the aftermath of a public health emergency. For the first time, the federal government will be required to prioritize the critical care system in its emergency and disaster planning efforts. Furthermore, the bill requires additional planning regarding evacuation of patients.
Last year, I introduced legislation with my colleague from Wisconsin, Congresswoman Baldwin to ensure that the nation's critical care system is structured to provide the highest quality and most efficient health care. This legislation is designed to determine inefficiencies in the current system and bolster capabilities to meet future demands--including improving federal disaster preparedness efforts to care for the critically ill or injured.
A key aspect of this bill was to put in place measures to ensure there are sufficient numbers of critical care providers to respond in a medical crisis, develop best practices for the safe evacuation of ICU patients, and enhance the current databases that provide necessary resource information in the aftermath of a disaster. I'm happy to report that these important provisions are all reflected in today's bill.
Today's bill recognizes that critical care services play an important role in our medical response system and provides an opportunity to build more prepared and resilient communities that are able to respond and contain the impact of a public health emergency. I urge its passage.
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