Preparing for and Preventing the Next Public Health Emergency: Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Crisis

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

“Since it was established on April 23, 2020, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis has been investigating the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Select Subcommittee’s work has produced an extensive investigative record. The committee has released 37 investigative reports and other disclosures examining topics that range from how financial technology companies facilitated fraud in pandemic relief programs to how meatpacking companies prioritized profits over the health of their workers. The Select Subcommittee has held 42 hearings and Member briefings, exploring a similarly broad range of issues to understand the many challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis and how best to address them.

This report (218 pages in length) reflects the culmination of the Select Subcommittee’s work, as authorized and directed in the 117th Congress by House Resolution 935.1 The Select Subcommittee’s findings— based on firsthand accounts, contemporaneous records, expert testimony and other evidence— identify pre-existing vulnerabilities, failures in leadership and program implementation, and predatory actions by private actors that contributed to extraordinary loss of life, economic suffering, and waste, fraud, and abuse during the crisis. The findings also detail elements of the federal government’s response that succeeded in ameliorating the crisis. All of these lessons should inform preparations for and responses to future public health and economic emergencies.”

The above are the opening statements found in the Executive Summary. The report was posted on Friday, December 9, 2022.

I’m just beginning to digest this report. I encourage you, your team and your colleagues to do the same.  There’s a lot in this report that we can and should learn from.  There’s no doubt that we will be faced with “future public health and economic emergencies” – what we do with this information will be critical to moving forward.