McKinley Leads Bipartisan Effort to Provide More Resources for Public Health

Bipartisan Letter to House Leadership Requests Additional Funding for Local Health Departments

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Washington, October 9, 2020 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-W.Va.) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) led a bipartisan group of 13 members in a letter calling on House leadership to prioritize funding for local health departments in the next COVID package.

Congress has gone to great lengths to support health care providers and public health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this funding has not trickled down into local public health departments.

Local health departments are on the frontlines fighting the COVID pandemic. They administer COVID tests, promote safety guidelines, and will distribute a vaccine to the public once it’s approved. As we enter the flu season, local health departments are also tasked with vaccination efforts for the influenza virus.

In the letter, McKinley and the other Members wrote:

“Local health departments are attempting to prepare for fighting this pandemic for the foreseeable future. In addition, the upcoming flu season likely will put additional strain on an already strained public health and health care system,” wrote the Members. “In the CARES Act, Congress allocated billions of dollars for public health through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and other Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies. However, the funding has barely trickled into many local public health agencies from CDC through state health departments, resulting in a patchwork of protection across the nation. Some local health departments have not gotten any federal support for their coronavirus response, while others have gotten so little that they could not even support the hiring of one full time employee.”

“Congress should prioritize local health departments in the next COVID package. We are requesting a dedicated funding line for county, city, and tribal health departments in the next COVID stimulus package to be allocated through CDC. This would help ensure resources reach the front line of the response in a timely manner and allow these departments to continue their work of promoting public health and safety,” added the Members.

Read the full letter click here.

Background:

The idea for writing the letter to House leadership came from McKinley hosting several meetings with local public health departments in West Virginia.

Earlier this month, McKinley hosted a roundtable with West Virginia public health officials and the Surgeon General to discuss the impact of COVID19 on local public health departments.

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