By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Public policies play an important role in the overall well-being of society. They create guidelines for citizens to follow and set the tone of a government administration.
Public policies have also been a driving force to tightening emergency management efforts in the United States. Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparation Act Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA). This legislation is an important component to emergency management, particularly in relation to public health.
Streamlining Emergency Management Resources Nationwide
In the United States, federal policies are administered by various departments and agencies within the government. Some of these federal organizations include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
When an emergency occurs, it is particularly important for the various responsible agencies to coordinate and collaborate to streamline their resources and assist each other during disasters. However, legislation was needed to help streamline this process for emergency management.
What the PAHPRA Will Do
The PAHPRA gives HHS the authority to join other national security agencies when health issues are involved. This legislation includes multiple components, such as:
- A national health security strategy
- An Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
- A national advisory committee on children and disasters
- The modernization of the National Disaster Medical System
- The temporary reassignment of state and local personnel during a public health emergency
- The improvement of state and local public health security
- Hospital preparedness and medical surge capacity
- The enhancement of situational awareness and bio-surveillance
- The enhancement of medical countermeasure review
- The acceleration of medical countermeasure advanced research and development
PAHPRA and its components will also streamline other policies such as national security and public health and eliminate administrative obstacles. It is designed to make emergency management more effective.
PAHPRA Will Help Government Agencies to Avoid Mistakes Like Hurricane Katrina in Future
The U.S. government has worked hard to correct numerous administrative problems like those that occurred during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Numerous scholars have argued that the federal level was the root cause of those administrative problems.
Ultimately, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparation Reauthorization Act will help modernize the area where emergency management and public health issues meet. The modernization of the National Disaster Medical System, for example, is important should a pandemic or other mass medical emergency occur.