WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8), a House Ways and Means Committee member who helped write landmark health care legislation, today applauded more than $700,000 in federal aid to the N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services to help the state's public health efforts. Nearly 80 percent of the funding was made available through the Affordable Care Act.
"I am heartened that the federal government has doubled its commitment to making sure our public health is better protected against the spread of contagious diseases and infections. Healthcare-associated infections are the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and account for nearly 100,000 deaths a year." said Pascrell. "When the federal government can help our local efforts to protect the public, everyone - from the oldest of us to the youngest - benefits from that cooperation."
The N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services was awarded a total of $728,797, which was distributed in the following categories:
• Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity $507,324
• Healthcare Associated Infections $71,473
• Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity $150,000
(Non-Affordable Care Act Funds)
The funding was a part of $49 million in grants awarded by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, partly supported by the Affordable Care Act, to improve the quality of health care and strengthen the public health infrastructure. The grants strengthen State, local and territorial health departments' capacity to perform critical epidemiology and laboratory work, detect and prevent healthcare-associated infections and support immunization programs. This is double the spending for the same programs in 2010.
This is the second year that the Affordable Care Act has strengthened public health departments' capacity to fight infectious diseases through enhanced workforce training and improved information technology.
Nationally, almost $9 million will be used to bolster States' abilities to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which lead to nearly 100,000 deaths every year. Funds will help States coordinate their HAI prevention activities, implement multi-facility, multi-disciplinary prevention efforts, improve monitoring of antimicrobial use and enhance electronic reporting of HAIs.
Congressman Pascrell and Senator Menendez led a letter in July 2010 with over 20 co-signers to successfully convince the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure hospitals report on these infections. With better reporting and payments based on quality care in the next few years, hospitals will be able to prevent many more HAI deaths with their heightened attention to these dangerous infections.
Another $600,000 will be used to bolster States' immunization infrastructure and programs. These dollars will strengthen the evidence base for immunization programs and policy by supporting important evaluations on the effectiveness of various vaccines.