(1)The Secretary shall establish four medical emergency preparedness centers in accordance with this section. Each such center shall be established at a Department medical center and shall be staffed by Department employees.
(2)The Under Secretary for Health shall be responsible for supervising the operation of the centers established under this section. The Under Secretary shall provide for ongoing evaluation of the centers and their compliance with the requirements of this section.
(3)The Under Secretary shall carry out the Under Secretary’s functions under paragraph (2) in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.
(b) Mission.— The mission of the centers shall be as follows:
(1)To carry out research on, and to develop methods of detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses arising from the use of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices posing threats to the public health and safety.
(2)To provide education, training, and advice to health care professionals, including health care professionals outside the Veterans Health Administration, through the National Disaster Medical System established pursuant to section 2812 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11) or through interagency agreements entered into by the Secretary for that purpose.
(3)In the event of a disaster or emergency referred to in section
1785(b) of this title, to provide such laboratory, epidemiological, medical, or other assistance as the Secretary considers appropriate to Federal, State, and local health care agencies and personnel involved in or responding to the disaster or emergency.
(c) Selection of Centers.—
(1)The Secretary shall select the sites for the centers on the basis of a competitive selection process. The Secretary may not designate a site as a location for a center under this section unless the Secretary makes a finding under paragraph (2) with respect to the proposal for the designation of such site. To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure the geographic dispersal of the sites throughout the United States. Any such center may be a consortium of efforts of more than one medical center.
(2)A finding by the Secretary referred to in paragraph (1) with respect to a proposal for designation of a site as a location of a center under this section is a finding by the Secretary, upon the recommendations of the Under Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions, that the facility or facilities submitting the proposal have developed (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:
(A)An arrangement with a qualifying medical school and a qualifying school of public health (or a consortium of such schools) under which physicians and other persons in the health field receive education and training through the participating Department medical facilities so as to provide those persons with training in the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses induced by exposures to chemical and biological substances, radiation, and incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices.
(B)An arrangement with a graduate school specializing in epidemiology under which students receive education and training in epidemiology through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such students with training in the epidemiology of contagious and infectious diseases and chemical and radiation poisoning in an exposed population.
(C)An arrangement under which nursing, social work, counseling, or allied health personnel and students receive training and education in recognizing and caring for conditions associated with exposures to toxins through the participating Department facilities.
(D)The ability to attract scientists who have made significant contributions to the development of innovative approaches to the detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses arising from the use of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices posing threats to the public health and safety.
(3)For purposes of paragraph (2)(A)—
(A)a qualifying medical school is an accredited medical school that provides education and training in toxicology and environmental health hazards and with which one or more of the participating Department medical centers is affiliated; and
(B)a qualifying school of public health is an accredited school of public health that provides education and training in toxicology and environmental health hazards and with which one or more of the participating Department medical centers is affiliated.
(d) Research Activities.— Each center shall conduct research on improved medical preparedness to protect the Nation from threats in the area of that center’s expertise. Each center may seek research funds from public and private sources for such purpose.
(e) Dissemination of Research Products.—
(1)The Under Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions shall ensure that information produced by the research, education and training, and clinical activities of centers established under this section is made available, as appropriate, to health-care providers in the United States. Dissemination of such information shall be made through publications, through programs of continuing medical and related education provided through regional medical education centers under subchapter
VI of chapter
74 of this title, and through other means. Such programs of continuing medical education shall receive priority in the award of funding.
(2)The Secretary shall ensure that the work of the centers is conducted in close coordination with other Federal departments and agencies and that research products or other information of the centers shall be coordinated and shared with other Federal departments and agencies.
(f) Coordination of Activities.— The Secretary shall take appropriate actions to ensure that the work of each center is carried out—
(1)in close coordination with the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other departments, agencies, and elements of the Government charged with coordination of plans for United States homeland security; and
(2)after taking into consideration applicable recommendations of the working group on the prevention, preparedness, and response to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies established under section 319F(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d–6(a)) or any other joint interagency advisory group or committee designated by the President or the President’s designee to coordinate Federal research on weapons of mass destruction.
(g) Assistance to Other Agencies.— The Secretary may provide assistance requested by appropriate Federal, State, and local civil and criminal authorities in investigations, inquiries, and data analyses as necessary to protect the public safety and prevent or obviate biological, chemical, or radiological threats.
(h) Detail of Employees From Other Agencies.— Upon approval by the Secretary, the Director of a center may request the temporary assignment or detail to the center, on a nonreimbursable basis, of employees from other departments and agencies of the United States who have expertise that would further the mission of the center. Any such employee may be so assigned or detailed on a nonreimbursable basis pursuant to such a request.
(1)Amounts appropriated for the activities of the centers under this section shall be appropriated separately from amounts appropriated for the Department for medical care.
(2)In addition to funds appropriated for a fiscal year specifically for the activities of the centers pursuant to paragraph (1), the Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated for that fiscal year generally for the Department medical services account and the Department medical and prosthetics research account such amounts as the Under Secretary determines appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section. Any determination by the Under Secretary under the preceding sentence shall be made in consultation with the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.
(3)There are authorized to be appropriated for the centers under this section $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2003 through 2007.
2010—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 111–275substituted “section 2812 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11)” for “section 2811(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11(b))”.
2008—Subsec. (i)(2). Pub. L. 110–387substituted “medical services account” for “medical care account”.
Transfer of Functions
For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the National Disaster Medical System, including the functions of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response relating thereto, to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, see title III of Pub. L. 109–295, set out in part as a note under section
300hh–11 of Title
42, The Public Health and Welfare, and section 301(b) ofPub. L. 109–417, set out as a note under section
300hh–11 of Title
For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the National Disaster Medical System of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the functions of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness [now Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response] relating thereto, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see former section
557 of Title
6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section
542 of Title
“(1) In order to assist the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health in selecting sites for centers under section
7325 of title
38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), the Under Secretary shall establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the designation of such centers. The peer review panel shall be established in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.
“(2) The peer review panel shall include experts in the fields of toxicological research, infectious diseases, radiology, clinical care of patients exposed to such hazards, and other persons as determined appropriate by the Secretary. Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the officials referred to in paragraph (1) and shall submit to the Under Secretary for Health its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal. The panel shall specifically determine with respect to each such proposal whether that proposal is among those proposals which have met the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.
“(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).”
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