As Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, shared during last month’s observance of Hepatitis Awareness Month, the Department of Health and Human Services and its federal partners are pleased to announce the renewal and extension of the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis for three more years.
The original Action Plan, released in May 2011, details steps that federal partners within HHS and the Departments of Justice and Veterans Affairs are undertaking, through the end of 2013, to address viral hepatitis in the United States. As we work with our federal partners to assess progress to date and chart a course for the next three years, we want to ensure that our non-federal partners and community stakeholders have an opportunity to share their thoughts and perspectives about how our nation can best achieve the long-term goals of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. To gather such input on what should be included, expanded, or changed in the 2014-2016 extension of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, my office has published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register.
The RFI poses several questions for respondents to share thoughts about. In addition, we welcome other input that might be helpful to consider as we develop an ambitious but achievable plan for the next three years. For example, respondents might comment on:
- How can specific federal programs or activities not currently engaged in the Action Plan be engaged to support the Action Plan’s goals?
- Are any specific federal polices, rules or guidelines that should be evaluated for possible revision so as to better achieve the Action Plan’s goals?
- What specific actions in the current plan should be continued or expanded? Are there important actions, not highlighted in the current plan, that should be emphasized in the 2014-2016 renewal?
- How can we work more effectively with non-federal partners and other sectors of society to increase awareness and mobilize support for viral hepatitis?
Although viral hepatitis is an important global public health problem, please remember that our plan is focused on efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat viral hepatitis in the United States.
I encourage you to share your thoughts with us. Details on how to respond are included in the RFI at http://federalregister.gov/a/2013-13332. But remember, in order to consider your input, we need to hear from you on or before 5:00 p.m. EST on July 5, 2013. Also, please forward this RFI link to your colleagues and co-workers so that they can also share their ideas with us. We look forward to receiving a lot of great input.