On October 26th, House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing that highlighted the need to expand the nation’s public health workforce. The hearing discussed several pieces of proposed legislation including H.R. 5602, and the "Bolstering Infectious Outbreaks (BIO) Preparedness Workforce Act of 2021", and other bills focused on expanding the public health workforce.

Several experts on public health from organizations such as the National Association of County and City Health Officials testified to the problems the nation has faced from a declining public health workforce and attested to the need for legislation that can help bolster the ranks of trained experts who can help in circumstances ranging from the opioid epidemic to the next pandemic.

The BIO Preparedness Workforce Act in particular would establish new loan repayment opportunities for health care professionals who spend at least 50% of their time working in bio-preparedness in a health care facility anywhere in the U.S. or who spend at least 50% of their time providing infectious diseases care in underserved areas or federally funded facilities. The bill permits the Secretary of HHS to award loan repayment contracts under this bill in a manner that increases the number of ID and bio-preparedness health care professionals from populations underrepresented in medicine.

AACC supports greater congressional investment in programs and agencies that support labs, healthcare providers, and that help rebuild the nation’s public health workforce.