Congratulations to all PLF Advocates on making impact with your elected officials. Keep up the great work!
By: Christian John Lillis
Peggy Lillis Foundation for C. diff Education & Advocacy convened the third annual C. diff Lobby Day on April 21, 2021. The date had special resonance for our community being the 11th anniversary of our namesake’s death. 27 volunteers from PLF’s Board, Advocates Council and Scientific Advisory Council met with their Members of Congress.
We coordinated more than 40 virtual meetings with House and Senate offices in over 15 states, including Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia. Advocates sought to raise C. diff awareness among legislators and their staff, as well as urging action on two pieces of legislation: The Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act (PHISLA), and the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act.
PHISLA calls for funding to improve our public health system in amounts that will reach $4.5 billion annually in FY2025 and beyond. This money will be distributed in grants by the CDC to state, territorial, local, and tribal health departments to assess and address core public health infrastructure needs. While PASTEUR has yet to be reintroduced, we expect it will support the development of new antibiotics and promote appropriate use of existing ones, helping to limit the increase and spread of resistant infections.
Overall, our Lobby Day was a great success in terms of raising awareness of C. diff and having our Advocates ask their legislators to support these important bills. Our results include:
- On C. diff awareness, 18 Members and/or staffers had heard of C. diff and 11 had not. None of the Members and/or staff had a friend or family member who had a CDI.
- All of the Congressional offices (25+) were supportive of dedicated, multi-year funding for Federal agencies critical to combatting C. diff and anti-microbial resistant infections.
- On the Senate side, 11 offices were unfamiliar with Senator Murray’s (D-WA) PHISLA legislation, while 9 offices were. 11 Senate offices said they would co-sponsor PHISLA and only 3 said they would not co-sponsor PHISLA.
- Also 11 Senate offices plan to co-sponsor Senators Bennett (D-CO) and Young’s (R-IN) PASTEUR Act when re-introduced in this Congress and only 2 offices said they would not.
- In the House of Representatives, 15 Members said they planned on co-sponsoring the PASTEUR Act when re-introduced by Reps. Doyle (D-PA) and Ferguson (R-GA).
Lastly, all of the Congressional offices (40+) signaled they were open to an in-district follow-up meeting later this year, which our Advocates will plan to do once COVID restrictions are lifted. We look forward to continuing to build support for legislative solutions to C. diff infections and antibiotic resistance.