#RecordOfSuccess Continues as President Signs Bills to Boost Autism Research and Improve Trauma Care

August 12, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today applauded the news that two more committee bills, H.R. 4631, the Autism CARES Act, and H.R. 3548, the Improving Trauma Care Act, were signed into law late Friday. The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), boasts a strong record of bipartisan success with nearly two dozen public health measures now law.

Upton commented, “With two more bipartisan laws on the books, the 113th Congress will be remembered as the public health Congress. These new laws address two critical areas of public health: autism research and trauma care. The sad reality is that in the United States, autism now affects 1 in 68 children and can cost a family approximately $60,000 annually. This law looks to build upon the research of the last few years. And the Improving Trauma Care Act will help important trauma centers like Bronson Methodist Hospital’s Burn Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to better care for their patients in times of emergency.”

H.R. 4631, the Autism CARES Act, authored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), extends the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 to continue federal research, early identification and intervention, and education related to autism as well as the activities of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. The legislation also asks the Secretary of Health and Human Services to collaborate with other federal agencies to prepare and submit a report concerning young adults with autism spectrum disorder and the challenges related to their transition into adulthood. The research funded by this legislation also permits diagnosing and intervening earlier, ultimately improving the quality of life for children with autism.

H.R. 3548, the Improving Trauma Care Act, “seeks to refine inconsistent definitions of what constitutes trauma as outlined in the United States code,” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), the bill’s author, recently explained during debate on the House floor. “By modernizing this term as federally defined, Congress can ensure that it accurately reflects the medical realities of trauma and protects access to the provision of trauma care.” The legislation amends the Public Health Service Act to improve the definition of trauma by including injuries caused by thermal, electrical, chemical, or radioactive force. These injuries are commonly treated by burn centers. “Now that this legislation is law, we’ve strengthened America’s burn care infrastructure – which is very important when confronting mass casualty disasters,” added Johnson. 

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