September 12, 2017

Crystal R. Watson, Matthew Watson, and Tara Kirk Sell

Robin Young, featuring Eric Toner

Thomas Inglesby
Modern Healthcare

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
HHS Spurs New Antibiotic Development for Biodefense and Common Infections.
To combat potentially deadly Clostridium difficile infections that can occur in patients being treated for bacterial infections including anthrax, tularemia and other biothreats, the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is partnering with Summit Therapeutics on late-stage development of a new antibiotic.  (ASPR, 9/11/17)
Drug for "Neglected" Chagas Disease Gains FDA Approval Amid Price Worries.
On Aug. 29 the FDA gave the global drug company Chemo Group approval to market its drug benznidazole in the U.S. The approval came via a fast-track process the agency says it uses for drugs that can be used to treat "serious conditions where there is unmet medical need."  (NPR, 9/10/17)
HHS Hurricane Response Updates.
Across the entire department, HHS continues to provide support to those affected by the hurricanes. This page has the latest hurricane news.  (Department of Health & Human Services, 9/9/17)
Fauci: More Resources Needed to End Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci in a presentation he gave at the US Conference on AIDS at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in DC noted "individual countries" have met UNAIDS targets of having 90 percent of people with HIV knowing their status, receiving antiretroviral therapy and having undetectable viral loads by 2020.  (Los Angeles Blade, 9/9/17)
Increase in Human Infections with Novel Asian Lineage Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Viruses During the Fifth Epidemic - China, October 1, 2016-August 7, 2017.
Because of antigenic variation between the Yangtze River Delta lineage viruses, the newly emerged high pathogenic Asian H7N9 viruses, and 2013 candidate vaccine viruses, new candidate vaccine viruses have been produced.  (CDC, 9/8/17)
USDA Posts Food Safety Tips for Those in Path of Hurricane Irma.
Hurricanes present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.  (Food Safety News, 9/8/17)
The Disaster Distress Helpline Provides Immediate Crisis Counseling to People Affected by Hurricane Irma in the Southeastern United States.
A disaster or tragedy is unexpected and often brings out strong emotions. The Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 can provide immediate counseling to anyone who is seeking help in dealing with Hurricane Irma in the Southeastern United States.  (SAMHSA, 9/8/17)
IHS Efforts for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) is working to assess the needs of local service units, tribes and tribal organizations to assist with health care and medical needs for those affected by the storms. Fifty-eight US Public Health Service Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving officers assigned to IHS have also deployed or are on alert for imminent deployment to assist and more are expected to join the effort.  (Indian Health Service, 9/8/17)
House Passes Delaney Amendment to Restore NBACC Funding.
During floor debate Wednesday evening the House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) to fully fund the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center.  (Congressman John Delaney, 9/7/17)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Use of Special Interest Projects to Fund Prevention Research Centers.
found that CDC uses this supplemental funding for research projects that involve community-based organizations and community members, and that such projects cover a variety of topics (e.g. cancer prevention, healthy brain research).  (GAO, 9/7/17)
FY2018 Labor, HHS & Education Appropriations Bill Gains Subcommittee Approval.
I'm proud that we were able to secure another $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, which will provide doctors and researchers additional resources to help them treat and cure our most deadly and costliest diseases," said Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).  (US Senate Committee on Appropriations, 9/6/17)
Statement from Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma on Public Health Emergency Declaration in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.
We stand ready to support our beneficiaries in the Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance (CHIP), and other CMS programs, throughout this emergency and through the recovery process.  (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 9/6/17)

Hurricane Harvey-Clinical Guidance for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O'Connor, Texas on August 25, 2017, causing 300,000 persons to lose power. When power outages occur during emergencies such as hurricanes or winter storms, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating, cooling, or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and poison the people and animals inside.  (CDC, 9/2/17)
SLTT Response to Large Scale Biological Events: Challenges and Solutions.
The Nation continues to confront infectious disease events and the threat of biological terrorism. This meeting of the Study Panel, chaired by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and former Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, will provide the Study Panel with a better understanding of the capabilities of state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments.  (Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, 9/17)
Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
The first day of the public meeting, September 13, 2017, will be dedicated to the topic of Stewardship of Antibiotic Prescription and Use. The three working groups on Incentives for Diagnostics, Therapeutics/Anti-Infectives, and Vaccines, will report their final findings to the full Advisory Council for deliberation on the second day of the public meeting, September 14, 2017, and the Advisory Council will deliberate and vote on the final report presented.  (Department of Health & Human Services, 9/17)

Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
Endangered HUD Funds Will Drive the Hurricane Recovery.
Trump's proposed 2018 budget would eliminate a program now set to provide about half the housing rebuilding funds for Harvey and Irma.  (CityLab, 9/11/17)
HUD Announces Disaster Assistance for Puerto Rico Storm Victims.
Housing and Urban Development today announced HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to Hurricane Irma.  (Department of Housing & Urban Development, 9/11/17)
Will Trump Direct FEMA to Fund Churches Hit by Hurricanes? 
According to the stated policy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, houses of worship cannot receive funding from the agency's public-assistance program, which provides money for emergency fire and rescue services, medical care, urgent debris removal, and critical utility repairs in the wake of disasters.  (The Atlantic, 9/11/17)
State Department and USAID Employees Respond to Hurricane Irma.
On September 7, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, and The Bahamas, and these disaster experts are now coordinating with local authorities and humanitarian organizations on the ground to deliver vital humanitarian assistance.  (Department of State, 9/10/17)
DoD Continues Caribbean, Florida Hurricane Response Operations.
The Defense Department continues its response to "significant" levels of destruction throughout the US Virgin Islands and other Caribbean locales, while posturing forces to support the response to Hurricane Irma in Florida.  (Department of Defense, 9/9/17)

See also
With Harvey And Now Irma, Federal Funds And FEMA Are Put To The Test.
The disaster relief bill given final approval by Congress on Friday can't come too soon for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Without a new injection of funds, officials said FEMA's cash box would be empty as early as this weekend, right around the time that Hurricane Irma is scheduled to slam into southern Florida, while southeast Texas and Louisiana are still drying out from Hurricane Harvey.  (NPR, 9/8/17)
McConnell Nearly Doubles Harvey Aid Package.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's midnight move added $7.4 billion in community development block grant funds to a House-passed $7.9 billion measure providing an emergency replenishment for disaster aid coffers.  (CBS News, 9/7/17)
Disaster Debris Management: Requirements, Challenges, and Federal Agency Roles.
This report focuses on the requirements applicable to disaster debris management and the
challenges that communities face when attempting to manage it both quickly and safely. This
report also provides an overview of the types of support provided by FEMA, the Corps, and EPA
with respect to disaster debris removal. 
(Congressional Research Service, 9/6/17)
Floodplain Management and Flood Resilience: Current Policy and Considerations for Congress.
An issue for Congress is how federal floodplain policy shapes implementation of federal projects and programs. Federal floodplain policy has particular relevance for federal disaster recovery assistance and infrastructure support. This Insight describes presidential direction to federal agencies on floodplain management and flood resilience and presents considerations for Congress.  (Congressional Research Service, 9/6/17)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
NRC Preparing for Hurricane Irma.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has dispatched additional inspectors to the Turkey Point nuclear plant south of Miami and the St. Lucie nuclear plant on the east coast of Florida in advance of Hurricane Irma.  (NRC, 9/8/17)

Science & Technology Policy
Congress Rejects Trump Proposals to Cut Health Research Funds.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bipartisan bill last week providing $36.1 billion for the health institutes in the fiscal year that starts next month. Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri and the chairman of the subcommittee responsible for health spending, said it was the third consecutive year in which he had secured a $2 billion increase for the agency, amounting to an increase of about 20 percent over three years.  (New York Times, 9/11/17)
IARPA's Stacey Dixon on Tech Priorities and Continuing Resolutions.
Stacey Dixon, deputy director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, sits down with Defense News to discuss the damaging impacts of a continuing resolution, how her organization works with the Pentagon and the technologies on which she is most focused.  (Air Force Times, 9/17)
Federal Chemical Risk Database Targeted by Congress.
When floodwaters come up, seeping into industrial areas that turn out fuel or chemicals, public health officials look to a federal database known simply as IRIS. Short for Integrated Risk Information System, the Environmental Protection Agency maintains the program to assess the health risks of various chemical compounds and as a go-to encyclopedia for state agencies on their impacts on human populations.  (Houston Chronicle, 9/7/17)
This Week's Hearings

Supporting Tomorrow's Health Providers: Examining Workforce Programs Under the Public Health Service Act.US House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. 9/14/17, 10 AM. Rayburn 2123.  More

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