March 17, 2017

On Wednesday, March 15th, the Akron Beacon published an op-ed by Advocates Council member and Arkon resident Apryl Gleespen and our Executive Director Christian John Lillis:

Protect these public funds to stop fatal infections
By Apryl Gleespen and Christian John Lillis

Imagine becoming sick from an infection you’ve never heard of. Within a week, your intestines are failing. Then imagine that doctors and nurses you counted on to treat the disease lack the know-how or tools to save your life.

This unsettling scenario is familiar to us, and to thousands of Americans who become ill each year from bacteria called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. Despite its ravages, with more fatalities each year than gun violence or traffic deaths, less than 30 percent of Americans know its name.

The past seven years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made progress in raising awareness of this infection, increasing diagnoses and effective interventions. Now, however, progress could end and infections worsen if Americans lose a section of the Affordable Care Act devoted to fighting C. diff. and other deadly scourges.

It’s called the Prevention and Public Health Fund. And it’s one of the most vital but least discussed components of the landmark health law. It establishes and directs funding to detect, study, treat and prevent the most serious threats to public health. The latest proposal in Congress to scrap the law takes away the fund. One-eighth of the CDC budget comes from such funding.

The American Medical Association cited the loss of the prevention fund as a major problem with the new bill, and one basis of doctors’ strong opposition to it.

Read the full op-ed on

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