Posted By Amanda Girard On June 30, 2021
Lawmakers have re-introduced legislation to provide consistent funding for maintenance of Public Health infrastructure and healthcare IT systems. The Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act is meant to stop the boom-bust funding cycle that the public health system has struggled with for decades and instead provide a steady stream of support. If adopted, the act would provide $4.5 billion in public health funding annually.
Years of underfunding has left many state health departments with antiquated health IT systems. The COVID-19 pandemic only made things worse. Dependable funding is necessary for Public Health departments to not only employ highly-skilled professionals like epidemiologists but to also implement technology upgrades and then maintain them for the good of Public Health and the community members they serve.
Many Public Health experts have said that proper funding in the past would have made health departments more effective when COVID-19 hit. These technologies being up to date are essential for crisis management. The lack of updated technology for Public Health infrastructure made tracking outbreaks, reporting to registries, and managing mass vaccinations more challenging.
After this pandemic is over, the concern is making sure Public Health officials do not have to go back to scraping together resources to provide services to their communities. Using spreadsheets and other cobbled together resources is not only an inefficient way to track patients at Public Health agencies, but doing so is also a dangerous way to run a healthcare clinic. Passing the Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act is a move to make sure critical government functions have the resources needed in future Public Health emergencies by ensuring that funding is dependable well after the COVID-19 pandemic is over and infrastructure that has been updated can stay intact.