FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Liz Voyles
September 18, 2018 firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-297-9641
Big Cities Health Coalition Applauds Senate’s Passage of Labor Health and Human Services Spending Bill
Includes Funds for Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Prevention and Public Health Fund, and Other Public Health Priorities
Washington, D.C. – Today the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) applauded the U.S. Senate for the passage of a major spending bill that will bolster the ability of local health departments to respond to serious threats including the opioid crisis, prevent teen pregnancy, and address other public health priorities. This is the first time since 1996 that the Senate has passed a Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) and Education Spending Bill before the end of the fiscal year, and it gives governmental public health agencies much needed budgetary certainty with which to carry out their work. Additionally, the bill provides funding for a number of the Coalition’s priorities that allow local health departments to prevent disease and protect the health of their constituents.
“This Senate spending bill is years in the making and will go a long way toward ensuring that local communities have the resources they need to protect and promote the public’s health,” said Chrissie Juliano, Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “This is a bipartisan package of smart, targeted spending that can have a tremendous impact on both emerging and every day health threats. The House of Representatives should take up and pass this bill without delay and then the president should sign it.”
The Big Cities Health Coalition is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact more than 55 million people, or one in six Americans.
The bill includes many of the Coalition’s priorities such as language that instructs the CDC to “extend eligibility to local health departments” when allocating prevention and response dollars for the ongoing opioid epidemic. Cities are on the front lines of this crisis, but all too often resources fail to make it to local level. Importantly, the bill fully funds the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which the Coalition has previously advocated for and which provides resources to prevent unintended teen pregnancies in localities across the US. Large, urban health departments are currently experiencing great success in lowering teen pregnancy rates across the country, in part due to this prevention program. Finally, the bill also funds the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) at $804.5 million, an increase of $3.6 million over last year. The PPHF is a major source of funding for health and prevention activities in local communities and states, and also provides dollars for key programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These funds are integral to the work of local and state health departments.
Other highlights in the bill include:
Overall, CDC's program level increased by $126.5 million (given that FY2018 included one-time lab construction funding).
$10 million for surveillance for emerging threats to mothers and babies, to continue tracking the impacts of Zika and other threats.
$5 million increase for Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program.
$50 million for an Infectious Disease Rapid Response Fund.
$5 million for a new initiative to address infectious disease challenges related to the opioid epidemic.