APIC Expresses Concern Over Public Health Funding Cuts
The reductions could threaten America’s ability to fight future infectious diseases.
In a recent press release, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has expressed concern that proposed cuts to public health funding could erode progress that has strengthened the U.S. public health infrastructure and leave the nation ill-equipped to deal with the next threat of infectious disease.
Back in July, CNN reported on the proposed cuts, stating that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is poised to lose at least US$1.3 billion that were initially earmarked for COVID-19 supplemental funding as a result of June’s federal debt ceiling negotiation. Also potentially being let go is a federal grant directed to states to help modernize their vaccine reporting systems—a loss of roughly $233 million.
“We’re falling even faster than I ever thought we would into the boom-and-bust cycle of funding public health,” Janet Hamilton, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) executive director told CNN. “It is exceedingly troubling that we have a lot less than we thought we were going to have at a time when we need it most.”
In its press release, the APIC stated its belief in the importance of keeping funding to the CDC and public health programs a priority, to ensure that the availability of resources necessary to keep U.S. citizens safe from infectious diseases.
The APIC also noted that public health and prevention accounts for only a small fraction of the more than $4 trillion in annual U.S. healthcare costs. The organization believes that cuts in federal, state, and local public health budgets will leave health agencies unable to conduct necessary disease surveillance, build scalable public health laboratory infrastructure, and implement and train a responsive public health workforce.
“Though we have identified a number of lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is that rolling back public health funding will not allow us to learn from these experiences and implement desperately needed change,” said 2023 APIC president Patricia Jackson, RN, MA, CIC, FAPIC.
According to NPR, with a new U.S. government shutdown due to occur on October 1 if interventions don’t take place, the specifics of any possible funding cuts won’t be fully realized until then. The CDC declined comment on the potential cuts, saying to do so would be premature while the budget proceedings in congress are still taking place.