HHS on Wednesday announced that the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) will now operate as its own division, called the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia and Illinois.
- District of Columbia: HHS on Wednesday announced internally that it is elevating ASPR to operate under its own division that will lead the nation's response to public health emergencies and pandemic threats—a move that effectively establishes a new federal health agency. The office will oversee critical health logistics, including the Strategic National Stockpile and emergency vaccine distribution. The change aims to expand the office's authority so that it can operate alongside CDC, FDA, and NIH, which all oversee various elements of an emergency response. "This change allows ASPR to mobilize a coordinated national response more quickly and stably during future disasters and emergencies while equipping us with greater hiring and contracting capabilities," said Dawn O'Connell, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response. (Stolberg/Weiland, New York Times, 7/20)
- District of Columbia: HHS earlier this month distributed over $142 million in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) phase 4 general distribution payments to over 150 providers around the nation through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). So far, the agency has distributed almost $14.5 out of $17 billion in PRF phase 4 funds, in addition to HRSA's distribution of more than $8 billion in American Rescue Plan Rural payments. Providers will be notified via email if their application was processed in this round of payments. (AHA News, 7/7)
- Illinois: Abbott Nutrition earlier this month resumed production at its Michigan plant after severe weather resulted in flooding that forced it to temporarily close in mid-June. The plant initially closed in February following contamination concerns, further exacerbating the infant formula shortage. In May, Abbott came to an agreement with FDA and was allowed to reopen the plant. However, just two weeks after the plant reopened, it was forced to shut down again after severe weather flooded parts of the facility. When Abbott reopened the facility on July 1, it began producing its specialty baby formula, called EleCare, which is intended for infants with digestive issues and severe food allergies. (Shapero, Axios, 7/10; Miranda, NPR, 7/10)