This week, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., to unveil a proposal to ensure hospitals and long-term care facilities are better prepared for hurricanes and other disasters. 

On Wednesday, Dingell brought out the “Worst-Case Scenario Hospital Preparedness Act” with Webster as a cosponsor. 

The proposal directs to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to work with the National Academy of Medicine to prepare recommendations for Congress on how medical centers, hospitals and long-term facilities can better handle emergencies. The bill calls for recommendations on current and new policies and regulations, federal grants and guidelines, including on ensuring access to clean water  and relying on alternative power systems. 

Dingell noted the hurricanes that impacted Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico this year as one of the reasons Congress should enact her legislation. 

“Emergency preparedness policies and procedures at our nation’s hospitals have been seriously tried and tested this year,” said Dingell. “The destruction wrought in the paths of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate left hospitals and long-term care facilities without power, flooded or shutdown, resulting in tragic loss of life. In the face of these extreme weather threats, it is critical that emergency preparedness procedures across all medical facilities be reviewed. This legislation takes a proactive approach to identify new polices that better address future threats – both manmade and natural – so we can better protect patients.”

“Disaster preparedness is critical for protecting lives, improving resiliency and being good stewards of disaster relief dollars,” said Webster. “The bill is a practical approach to ensuring that hospitals and long-term care facilities across the nation are more resilient against natural disasters. Maintaining a high standard of inspection, upkeep, and disaster preparedness, especially in places like in my home state of Florida, reduces the future loss of important facilities that many seniors and veterans in my district rely on. Being better prepared on the front end should also save taxpayers millions of dollars in disaster relief.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. So far, there is no Senate counterpart. 

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