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Rep. Fudge Introduces Pandemic Community Reserve and Public Health Response Act

WASHINGTON –Today, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) introduced the Pandemic Community Reserve and Public Health Response Act to expand the capacity for state, local and Tribal public health departments to combat COVID-19.  The bill ensures the country’s public health infrastructure is capable of adequately testing, tracing, and treating COVID-19 by strengthening participation in existing health reserve programs and establishing, recruiting and training a new Pandemic Community Reserve Corps. 

“Months into the pandemic, COVID-19 cases continue to surge in communities across the country,” said Rep. Fudge.  “Our ability to test, trace, and treat COVID-19 is critical to protecting the safety and health of all Americans and containing the spread of the disease.  Any effort to enhance our public health infrastructure must include efforts to recruit and train a diverse, locally sourced workforce reflective of local communities, particularly communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis.  The Pandemic Community Reserve and Public Health Response Act will not only help us combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it will also create a model for quickly addressing local testing and treatment needs in future public health emergencies while increasing employment opportunities for Americans who now find themselves out of work.”

The Pandemic Community Reserve and Public Health Response Act: 

  • Authorizes $50 billion for state, local and Tribal public health departments to establish a diverse, locally-sourced Pandemic Community Reserve Corps to assist with testing, contact tracing, and treatment of COVID–19;
  • Authorizes $25 billion to:
    • Recruit, train and equip the Pandemic Community Reserve Corps, current HHS, DHS, and DoD reserve personnel, and reactivate retired corps personnel to serve in the Federal public health reserve corps;
    • Establish partnerships between medical training programs and community-based organizations to recruit diverse public health professionals, prioritizing Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority-Serving Institution programs; and
    • Provide grants to local workforce boards to develop plans, including career pathways, for the Federal public health reserve corps to pursue further service in health-related careers after the pandemic.
  • The bill also directs HHS to establish a national training program to quickly increase the number of federal public health reserve personnel responding to COVID–19;
  • Directs state, local, and Tribal health departments to submit an annual report to HHS on participation among underrepresented groups, the occupations of corps personnel, careers attained after service in the corps, and specific recommendations on funding necessary for successful corps deployment during public health emergencies; and
  • Directs HHS to submit an annual report to Congress on the state of the Federal public health reserve corps and the Pandemic Community Reserve Corps programs beginning no later than one year after the public health emergency declaration is lifted.

The bill text for the Pandemic Community Reserve and Public Health Response Act is available here.

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