President Obama's Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 proposed budget, released on February 1, eliminated funding for the existing hemophilia program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reallocating them to a new program called a "public health approach to blood disorders." The current CDC hemophilia program provides approximately $17 million in funding for research, training, outreach and education activities, and blood safety surveillance. A key component of CDC's hemophilia program provides critical support for hemophilia treatment centers (HTCs).
NHF was very concerned to see this change included in the President's budget and has worked to obtain more information from the CDC on their plans for the new program. So far NHF has participated in two meetings with the leadership of CDC's Blood Disorders Division and the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and with other stakeholders involved with current programs within the division. Unfortunately, we have been given few details on CDC's plans for future funding of existing programs, such as support for HTCs or any new initiatives under consideration.
For the proposed change in CDC program funding to be implemented, it must be included in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations bill for FY 2011 and passed by Congress. For this reason, maintaining funding for the CDC's hemophilia program was a priority advocacy issue for this year's NHF Washington Days in February. Members of the bleeding disorders community engaged in additional grassroots efforts with members of Congress, encouraging House members to sign a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for the current hemophilia program to be maintained. In the end, a bi-partisan group of 31 House members signed the letter.
Without clear information and a detailed plan from the CDC on the new "public health approach" in the budget, NHF is concerned about future funding for HTCs and other hemophilia programs. NHF will continue to work with other stakeholders and with our Congressional champions to ensure that current hemophilia program activities will be maintained.