TCAA Grassroots Outreach: Reauthorize and Fund the Trauma Care Programs in the Public Health Service Act
TCAA, along with the trauma coalition, succeeded in ensuring that two important trauma bills passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The House approved both the “Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act (HR 648)" and "The Access to Life-Saving Trauma Care for All Americans Act" (HR 647). These programs are reauthorized through 2020 and would provide grants to prevent further trauma center closures and address shortfalls in trauma services and improve access to and the availability of trauma care in underserved areas. Additionally, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced S. 763, the Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act.
The House approved the reauthorization language last year. Accordingly, the Senate must now act so we may marry the two bills together (should they be different) and produce a final product reauthorizing the programs. We anticipate that Senate legislation on trauma center programs will be introduced in the coming weeks.
Accordingly, we ask that all TCAA members request that their Senators co-sponsor and enact these or similar measures. Please see the talking points to aid in your outreach.
Reauthorization is the first step toward improving trauma care by authorizing funding for these vital programs. TCAA members must also reach out to their Members of Congress to request funding for our programs. The funding request should be made of all offices.
As part of the appropriations process, all Senators and Representatives will write their “programmatic appropriations request letters,” which ask members of the Appropriations Subcommittees (who put together the federal funding legislation) to include funding for their priorities. The internal deadlines have not yet been set to receive these requests, but the deadlines will likely be early this year. The more Members of Congress that include a request for trauma funding in their letters, the greater the likelihood the Appropriators will include funding in FY 2017. The talking points also address appropriations and a sample appropriations form template will aid you in completing an appropriations request form, should your Member of Congress ask you to complete one.
Congress is long overdue in funding these vital programs to protect access to trauma centers and improve coordinated trauma systems. Your support is needed in securing funding for these vital programs. We thank you for carrying the message for trauma!