The House of Representatives has passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that, among other things, provides critical resources and makes investments in a number of public health efforts.
Among the billions of dollars in funding for public health, Section 2404 provides $500 million to support public health data surveillance and infrastructure modernization initiatives, as well as efforts to modernize our country’s disease warning system to track COVID-19 and emerging biological threats. Of that money, a significant portion will go to supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI).
The Senate had passed the bill March 6, and it now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
Funding for the DMI has been a top organizational priority for HIMSS and the Data: Elemental to Health Campaign, which HIMSS helped establish with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems and the Association of Public Health Laboratories
This additional funding further builds on the $600 million HIMSS and the Data Partners have already secured for DMI through FY2020 and FY2021 Appropriations bills, as well as supplement appropriations aimed at combating COVID-19.
When the campaign first launched in January 2019, the goal was to secure $1 billion over 10 years in foundational funding to support public health surveillance and modernize the public health data infrastructure. While there is still a long way to go to ensure system-wide change, this latest funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 gets us closer to reaching our initial goal.
COVID-19 has exposed deadly gaps in our public health data surveillance systems, and now more than ever we must address this issue. The $1 billion goal set more than two years ago is just a down payment. HIMSS will continue to advocate for meaningful, sustained funding from Congress to invest in public health surveillance systems.
The HIMSS policy team works closely with the U.S. Congress, federal decision makers, state legislatures and governments, and other organizations to recommend policy, and legislative and regulatory solutions to improve health through information and technology.