Coalition Joins Letter in Support of Increased DMI and Federal Public Health Funding

May 2022

US Capitol dome. Photo by Adam Szuscik on Unsplash.

May 11, 2022

The Honorable Patty Murray
Chair
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human
Services, Education and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate

The Honorable Roy Blunt
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human
Services, Education and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Chair
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human
Services, Education and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Tom Cole
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human
Services, Education and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Chair Murray, Ranking Member Blunt, Chair DeLauro, and Ranking Member Cole,

Thank you for your leadership and support for our nation’s public health infrastructure and workforce during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular, your support for public health data modernization both in regular appropriations and emergency funding bills. We are grateful for the doubling of funding for CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) to $100 million and dedicated funding of $200 million to public health infrastructure in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act.

The Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a commitment to building the world-class data workforce and data systems that are ready for the next public health emergency. We are grateful to Congress for providing more than $1 billion to date for CDC’s DMI through annual and supplemental appropriations. Now, we need robust, sustained, annual funding to ensure we are investing in public health systems and infrastructure, including at state and local health departments, that will keep pace with evolving technology and stand ready to combat any emerging threat to public health.

The DMI is helping to create a standards-based interoperable public health infrastructure, ensuring all systems can communicate and share data seamlessly with one another; advancing standards so that information can be stored and shared across systems; and facilitating complete and timely reporting so that our public health system has essential data on race, ethnicity, pregnancy status, treatments, and co-morbidities that are critical for achieving equity in public health response.

COVID-19 will not be the last public health crisis to threaten our nation. We have learned many lessons from this pandemic, including that our public health infrastructure and data systems were not prepared to respond to a highly infectious, fast-moving virus. We need public health systems that are equipped to respond to this and any future public health threat. Data: Elemental to Health has estimated that the true costs of public health data modernization equal at least $7.84 billion over 5 years. We will only achieve a modern public health data system through long-term, sustained federal investments and we ask for your continued support and leadership to get us there.

Again, thank you for the strong investment in DMI and public health infrastructure in FY 2022. If you have questions or wish to discuss this further, please contact Erin Morton at emorton@dc-crd.com.

Sincerely,

Association of Public Health Laboratories
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Big Cities Health Coalition
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems