In a letter to the White House and Congress, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and partners today requested supplemental appropriations to expand and strengthen public health capacity and coordination in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“While it is too early to reliably predict the additional cost burden and supplemental needs of the COVID-19 response … we anticipate that an initial supplemental is warranted to respond to public health agencies’ critical need to rapidly detect changes and control the outbreak,” the organizations wrote.
The groups outline several urgent priorities, including funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support preparedness and response activities; an appropriation for the relevant offices and programs under the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund; and authority to reimburse uncompensated care for state and local costs, including obtaining and maintaining quarantine and isolation housing capacity and providing wraparound services.
“We are in the midst of a developing public health emergency,” said Scott Becker, CEO of APHL. “Our request identifies initial needs to bolster our response, but it is likely only the start. Public health laboratories and other critical agencies will need sustained funding to address this growing challenge and other public health threats.”
The letter was signed by APHL, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.