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During National Health Center Week, Mucarsel-Powell Introduces NEW Bill To Fund Mobile COVID Testing Clinics For High Risk Communities

Press Release

Date: Aug. 13, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), member of the Congressional Coronavirus Task Force and former Associate Dean of the Florida International University's College of Medicine, and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-06), Chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, introduced the Mobile Options for Testing In Our Neighborhoods (MOTION) Act. This critical legislation would authorize $400 million to bring coronavirus testing to communities that are medically underserved. The MOTION Act prioritizes communities that remain inaccessible to traditional testing locations, such as those in rural areas and communities which may face transportation barriers. This legislation would provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with essential funding to partner with local organizations, including community health centers, to provide the resources needed to conduct mobile testing.

"As a child, I watched my mother work double shifts as an at-home care provider, inspiring me to dedicate my career to expanding access to health care. I understand that in order to have healthy communities, we need to go directly into neighborhoods and meet people where they are. That is what I did when I worked at FIU and helped create the NeighborhoodHELP program to establish mobile health centers that went directly into our neighborhoods, and it is what I'm doing now with the introduction of the MOTION Act," said Rep. Mucarsel-Powell. "This bill expands coronavirus testing in hard-to-reach communities and is critical for those that lack access to medical facilities for testing, or those that don't have access to vehicles or have difficulty accessing traditional walk-up or drive-through testing locations. I'm eager to see this pass through the House and I urge the Senate and president to support this much-needed service."

"As Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, I have heard from numerous public health experts on the devastating disparities in healthcare and the urgent need for dramatically increased testing. That is why I am pleased to join Rep. Mucarsel-Powell in introducing legislation to provide underserved communities with access to critically needed mobile testing sites," said Whip Clyburn. "The Trump Administration refuses to lead the nation out of this first wave of COVID-19 with a unified national plan. Therefore, we must do everything we can to ensure all Americans have the resources they need to prevent the spread of this virus."

The Mobile Options for Testing In Our Neighborhoods (MOTION) Act will:

Authorize $400 million to the CDC for FY20;
Distribute grants to local health departments, community health centers, university medical systems, or non-profits to conduct mobile testing;
Prioritize entities in medically underserved or transportation-disadvantaged areas;
Conduct mobile testing;
Distribute eventual FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics.
A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here.

"The National Association of Community Health Centers is pleased to support the MOTION Act, introduced by Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell," said Steve Carey, Chief Strategy Officer for the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). "Every Community Health Center's mission is to provide affordable, accessible, high-quality care to the most vulnerable and underserved communities across the United States. America's health centers have been and will continue to be on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. With nearly 30 million patients, grant programs like the one provided through the MOTION Act will enable the kind of innovation health centers rely on to adequately serve the most vulnerable among us."

"NRHA applauds Rep. Mucarsel-Powell's introduction of the MOTION Act as it will help facilitate additional COVID-19 testing to vulnerable communities, including those in rural America. Having adequate testing is critical to understanding the true need of additional COVID-19 resources in these communities," said Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Association.

"We applaud Rep. Mucarsel-Powell, Majority Whip Clyburn, and colleagues, for introducing the MOTION Act, which would help extend the nation's COVID-19 diagnostic testing capacity to communities that face barriers in accessing traditional testing sites. Among 11 evidence-based actions in the AAMC's recently released national road map to address the current public health emergency are recommendations to increase the availability and accessibility of testing and to address and resolve health inequities. This bill, particularly when implemented with a commitment to community engagement, would take an important step toward these goals," said AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD.