Blood community urges congress to center the blood supply in disaster response legislation

March 17, 2023
AABB update.

AABB, America’s Blood Centers (ARC), and the American Red Cross (ARC) urged senior members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to prioritize the availability of blood when developing legislation to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA).

Signed into law in 2006, PAHPA amended the Public Health Service Act to establish the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It also provided new authorities for a number of programs, including the advanced development and acquisitions of medical countermeasures (MCMs), and called for the establishment of a quadrennial National Health Security Strategy.

In their joint comments, AABB, ABC and ARC asked Congress to center the blood supply in preparedness and response activities across all HHS programs and agencies. This includes considerations to encourage blood donation and increase blood donor diversity, strengthen manufacturing and supply chains, and ensure the continuity of blood collection establishments’ operations during disasters and public health emergencies.

In addition, the organizations encouraged Congress to establish a program within the Health Resources and Services Administration charged with addressing laboratory workforce challenges, which are pervasive and affecting the availability of the blood supply. AABB, ABC and ARC also asked Congress to adopt and implement the recommendations that were included in the HHS Report to Congress: Adequacy of the National Blood Supply. Finally, the organizations urged Congress to continuously evaluate policies regarding disaster response and preparedness, MCMs and the supply chain to determine how they can support the availability of the blood supply.

AABB release