Dr. Marcus Plescia, ASTHO’s Chief Medical Officer, discusses the challenges posed by the monkeypox outbreak and admits the evolving strategy can be tough to communicate; Devon Page, an ASTHO Government Affairs Analyst, breaks down Congressional...
Dr. Marcus Plescia, ASTHO’s Chief Medical Officer, discusses the challenges posed by the monkeypox outbreak and admits the evolving strategy can be tough to communicate; Devon Page, an ASTHO Government Affairs Analyst, breaks down Congressional actions impacting public health, including the question of more funding for Monkeypox; Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott, joined the ASTHO team as a Senior Executive Consultant in part to be a helpful voice on health equity issues for her colleagues around the states and territories; and some of the most familiar voices in public health are now available to speak at your next event as part of ASTHO’s Speaker’s Bureau.
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, August 12th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
This is really becoming a pretty substantial public health issue because it's, you know, it's getting worse and worse and we haven't been able to contain it or stop it.
ASTHO chief medical officer Dr. Marcus Plescia on the challenges posed by the monkeypox outbreak.
The problem is that we're still learning about monkeypox. And so, you know, when we communicate about what's going on and what may be putting people risk, I mean, some of it we don't really know.
Plescia admits the evolving strategy can be tough to communicate, but he says states and territories are making progress.
I think, you know, the big strengths are that we do have interventions we can make. And I think that another big strength is we do have a community that we're working with that ss very organized and I think are very helpful in some of the messaging and in helping us think through what we need to be saying about this and how we need to be saying it.
Plescia is in constant communication with ASTHO members. What do they need?
The biggest thing we're hearing from states is that if they could just have some flexibility in how they use funding they currently have, and particularly some of the COVID funding, which is really being used in very similar purposes as being used to fund contact tracing, which is something we were doing for COVID.
According to Plescia, the recent public health emergency designation is a helpful development.
The issuing of federal state of emergency could make a big difference. It doesn't necessarily mean that those funding lines are gonna open up because of the state of emergency. But I think it does start to open up the communications with Congress that we either need some kind of legislative language that allows us some flexibility with the existing funding teams, or we need some additional funding.
ASTHO issued a statement on the monkeypox outbreak this week. You can read it using the link in the show notes.
Also, tune in Monday when Dr. Plescia discusses the new monkeypox vaccine strategy.
ASTHO's government affairs team is tracking the question of more funding for monkeypox. Analyst Devon Page says the answer is unclear, given the ongoing debate over new fiscal year appropriations.
All supplemental funding initiatives look to be stalled at the moment so long as FY23 is stalled. With regard to monkeypox funding, I know that there is a letter being circulated to urge leadership to pass funding, but the issue is there's no viable legislative vehicle.
Even so, Page says when it comes to Congress, anything is possible.
It could get passed as a standalone, but I really think the most likely route for those two, especially monkeypox, is getting added as an anomaly to continuing resolution.
Page says Congress did a lot of work this summer that will impact public health, including passage of a telehealth bill in the U.S. House.
It removes geographic requirements and an expansion of originating sites for telehealth services for two years ending on December 31st, 2024. It extends practitioner eligibility to furnish telehealth services. It extends telehealth services for federally qualified health centers and rural clinics for two years.
That bill now awaits to vote in the Senate.
Page wrote a new ASTHO blog article summarizing Congressional actions. You can read that and ASTHO's most recent Legislative Alert using the links in the show notes.
Also today, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott has joined the ASTHO team as a senior executive consultant. The former director of the Rhode Island health department and ASTHO past president wants to be a helpful voice on health equity issues for her colleagues around the states and territories.
It's also an added challenge for me because there are so many different perspectives and politics and real challenges that are taking place across the country. And I wanna be able to help and, you know, dig in, in doing what's needed to help ensure that communities that have been marginalized or disadvantaged or underresourced can do what's needed to overcome that.
You can read the news release about her appointment using the link in the show notes.
Finally this morning, some of the most familiar voices in public health are now available to speak at your next event. ASTHO's next president Dr. Anne Zink and Louisiana's Dr. Joseph Kanter are among those taking part in ASTHO's new Speakers Bureau.
Drs. Umair Shah, Manisha Juthani, Mark Levine, and others round out the lineup. Members of the ASTHO leadership team are available as well. Get more information using the link in the show notes.
That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back Monday morning with more ASTHO news and information.
I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great weekend.