By: Erin Burns
Peggy Lillis Foundation for C. diff Education and Advocacy convened the fourth annual C. diff Lobby Week April 4, 2022. 26 volunteers from PLF’s Board, Advocates Council and Scientific Advisory Council met with their members of Congress to advocate for C. diff awareness and improvements to health policy.
39 meetings were held with Representatives and Senators from 14 states including California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington. Volunteers rallied to educate legislators and their staff about C. diff; requested support for inclusion of C. diff in the Nationally Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System; submitted requests for report language indicating C. diff as a significant public health threat to be included in the FY2023 Appropriations Bill; and urged immediate bipartisan passing of the “Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions To End Upsurging Resistance Act of 2021” (PASTEUR Act).
The PASTEUR Act aims to accelerate development of needed new antimicrobials (antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics) and support stewardship programs to slow the rate of drug resistant superbugs. Specifically, it will create a subscription model for critical-need antimicrobials through which the federal government may enter into contracts with critical-need antimicrobial developers and pay a set fee for a supply of critical-need antimicrobials regardless of the quantity of antimicrobials used and establish a grant program to support antibiotic stewardship programs in hospitals, with priority given to rural, critical access and safety-net hospitals.
Overall, our Lobby Week was a great success and we are beyond thankful for all the volunteers who participated. Our results speak for themselves:
- Meetings were held with 39 Congressional offices in 14 different states across the political spectrum.
- On C. diff awareness, only 7 legislative offices had previously heard of C. diff. We were able to educate the legislators and/or staffers at 32 offices about C. diff.
- Advocates submitted requests for inclusion of our report language in the 2023 appropriations bill to 11 congressional offices
- 68% of the congressional offices we met said they were definitely supportive of all of our policy goals
- An additional 26% of congressional offices said they might be supportive of some or all of our objectives
- All offices were supportive of hearing additional information or having future follow-up meetings with constituents
While our Lobby Week is over, we will continue to pressure Congress to pass the PASTEUR Act and address public health infrastructure needs, including expanded reporting of C. diff and antimicrobial resistance infections.