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August 1, 2018

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Pandemic Preparedness Bill Advances with New CDC Loan Repayment Features

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) reauthorization bill which includes a new provision spearheaded by IDSA to support the development of our public health workforce, including ID physicians.  

The bill would provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) new authority to offer loan repayment for individuals serving in its Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), an on-the-job training program in applied epidemiology that grooms future public health leaders. EIS officers have been critical to responses to infectious diseases outbreaks and other public health emergencies. Unfortunately, in recent years CDC has struggled to recruit physicians to EIS as significant medical student debt drives more physicians to more lucrative opportunities.

The legislation also supports additional initiatives through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to address antimicrobial resistance, pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases. Importantly, the bill also codifies the expert council advising the federal government on AMR solutions, on which two IDSA board members currently serve.

The full House of Representatives is expected to pass the PAHPA reauthorization bill in September. Similar legislation was passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate. Unfortunately, the Senate bill did not include the CDC loan repayment provision, but IDSA is working closely with lawmakers to advocate for its inclusion in the final bill.

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