Brooks Praises Passage of Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act
The Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, legislation introduced by Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL12), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today. The bill makes sure homeland security grant dollars are available for medical preparedness activities, including the purchase of vital medical equipment and supplies used by first responders.
“I am pleased the House has passed this critical legislation that clarifies the important role our emergency medical response community plays in national preparedness and response efforts,” Brooks said. “When our emergency response providers have the resources necessary to purchase vital equipment and conduct necessary drills, their level of coordination and preparation saves lives when disasters strike. I want to express my gratitude to Congressman Bilirakis for his hard work and support of this effort.”
"Experts have repeatedly noted that the threat of a WMD attack is real,” Bilirakis said. “We must take steps now to ensure the necessary plans, medication and equipment are available to protect the public, especially first responders, in the event of an attack. The legislation passed by the House today recognizes the continued importance of ensuring medical preparedness activities remain allowable grant uses. I thank Chairman Brooks for her commitment to this important legislation, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to get this bill signed into law."
This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make it clear that grant funds under the State Homeland Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security Initiative may be used to enhance medical preparedness and purchase medical countermeasures. The bill does not include any new funding not already provided through current grant programs.
Congresswoman Brooks serves as Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications in the 113th Congress. Congressman Bilirakis held the post in the prior Congress. Both members have focused on providing the emergency response community opportunities to share expertise and discuss areas in need of improvement.
During the 112th Congress, the Subcommittee heard about the importance of medical countermeasures from representatives of the emergency response community and began working on legislation in response to those concerns.
In August of 2013, Congresswoman Brooks held a field hearing at the Carmel City Hall, where several witnesses from the medical response community testified to the importance of Homeland Security grants in assisting both the quality and coordination of response efforts. Witnesses from IU Health, St. Vincent Health and Franciscan St. Francis Health all testified. Marion County’s MESH Inc., one of only a handful of privately managed emergency preparedness healthcare coalitions in the United States, also provided testimony.
The legislation is supported by a coalition of first responder groups including the Emergency Services Coalition for Medical Preparedness, International Association of Emergency Managers and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.