By: Christian John Lillis
On Friday, December 18, the Senate voted to pass a $1.8 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government until next October. Much has been written about the good and the bad in this bill. What’s been largely overlooked is that this budget includes several increased investments to tackle healthcare associated infections (HAIs), including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), and antibiotic resistance bacteria.
After many years of austerity and a sequester that kept federal spending on public health issues flat or reduced, this is a huge victory for Peggy Lillis Foundation and others who have been fighting C. diff and other HAIs. Specifically, the budget includes the following increases:
+$160 million for the Centers for Disease Control’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative
+$100 million for National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Antibiotic Resistance activities;
+$97 million for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority’s Antibiotic Resistance efforts;
+10 million for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Antibiotic Resistance efforts;
+$8.7 million for Food & Drug Administration’s Antibiotic Resistance effort; and
+$3 million for the National Healthcare Safety Network
You can read the full bill here: SUMMARY: CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT OF 2016
PLF has long been advocating for increased funding to tackle C. diff and other HAIs. In the three years since we first met with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, PLF has led and participated in multiple efforts to expand federal funding for HAIs, including:
- Honoring leaders in Congress for their commitment to fight HAIs
- Lending Peggy’s story as an example for the need to increase investment in fighting superbugs
- Publishing an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun calling on Congress to fund efforts to combat superbugs
- Signed on to multiple coalition letters urging increased funding
- Running a campaign encouraging advocates to contact their congresspeople and urge them to preserve the president’s budget request
Certainly, we were not alone in our efforts. We are incredibly grateful to every person who took the time to contact their representatives, to our fellow members of the Stakeholders Forum on Antibiotic Resistance, all of our donors and supporters, and the members of congress who voted for this important funding.
We will continue to work in collaboration with our partners to ensure that this level of funding is maintained or increased for 2017. Please make a gift today to help us continue these efforts.