Duke Expert Available to Discuss Burr’s Emergency Preparedness Bill
DURHAM, N.C. -- A major hurdle to rapid disaster medical
response has been cleared now that Congress has shown unanimous
support in passing Sen. Richard Burr's public health emergency
preparedness bill, according to a Duke emergency physician who
specializes in disaster response.
The bill (S.3678 - Pandemic, and All-Hazards Preparedness
Act) creates a framework for improved federal response to
medical and public health emergencies by addressing four key
areas: a clear command and control system on the federal level;
facilitation of a volunteer network of health providers from
across the U.S.; a more robust support mechanism during
disasters; and the resources necessary for advancing research
and identification of facilities and capabilities that will be
needed to offset increased patient volume due to a public
health emergency, says David Marcozzi, M.D., a former
congressional fellow for the subcommittee on bioterrorism and
public health preparedness under Sen. Richard Burr.
Marcozzi, who assisted in drafting the bill, is currently
serving as senior medical advisor to the office of public
health and emergency preparedness in the U.S. department of
Health and Human Services.
"Effective disaster response is challenging because it
depends on a coordinated and integrated effort between numerous
organizations, both public and private," says Marcozzi. "This
legislation will shape future responses based upon lessons
learned from terrorist acts and natural disasters such as
hurricane Katrina. Senator Burr's diligent efforts, bipartisan
leadership and his ability to foster key partnerships with
public and private entities involved in preparedness efforts
has made all the difference."
Additionally, a component of the bill is designed to address
the gap that currently exists between developing medications
that could counter bioterrorism agents such as smallpox,
anthrax or plague, and the production of adequate supplies of
those medications and other resources in order to care for the
public, Marcozzi adds.
The bill had 14 co-sponsors, including Sens. Edward Kennedy
(D-Mass.), Hilary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Bill Frist, M.D.
(R-Tenn.). Burr is chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee's
Health, Education, Labor and Pension's subcommittee on
bioterrorism and public health preparedness.