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Engel Leads New York City Delegation to Protect Public Health Preparedness Program

Engel Leads New York City Delegation to Protect Public Health Preparedness Program

Congressman Eliot L. Engel today led the entire New York City Congressional Delegation on a letter to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) about changes to the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), which could affect the City’s ability to respond to public health threats.

“Having a robust public health infrastructure is critical to protecting the City from 21st century health threats,” said Rep. Engel. “The Hospital Preparedness Program provides crucial resources to support these efforts. Any changes to program need to account for the complex and unique threats that urban centers like New York City face.”

“The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response must explain what methodology led to a cut to New York City’s Hospital Preparedness Program funding,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Coordination between public health departments and the health care system is critical for public health emergency response. As we are learning from the current coronavirus outbreak, the only way to prevent another outbreak is to maintain vigilance—and if you start cutting the budget, the cost down the road will be even greater. We look forward to working with Representative Engel and the New York City delegation on this important issue.”

HPP is the only source of federal funding for helping health care systems prepare and respond to complex health threats, including natural and man-made incidents. In 2019, ASPR proposed changes to HPP’s grant formula which could eliminate nearly 5% of the City’s HPP dollars, affecting local hospitals such as Montefiore Hospital-Wakefield Campus. This letter seeks additional information about ASPR’s changes to HPP.

Congressman Engel has been a long-time proponent of HPP. On June 4, 2019, he supported passage of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act, which was signed into law and provides $385 million annually for HPP over the next five years. Engel is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee.

A copy of the signed letter can be found here.