The Trump administration has decided to re-establish the Ready Reserve Corps (RRC) to boost the public health response to the CCP virus pandemic.
The U.S. Public Health Service has in service a commissioned Regular Corps and an additional RRC that can be called at short notice to assist the former during a public health crisis or national emergency.
“Creating a Ready Reserve for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will improve our capability to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and future public health emergencies,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar in a statement on Tuesday.
Azar said the Trump administration and Congress have come together to re-establish the RRC, whose main purpose is to protect the country from public health threats.
“The men and women of the Commissioned Corps have effectively protected Americans’ health for more than a century, and having a reserve element will prepare them for another century of lifesaving service,” said Azar.
Thank you @VP and @SecAzar for recognizing the historic work of the #USPHS #CommissionedCorps and the future of the Corps’ Ready Reserve. We are Commissioned Corps strong! @Surgeon_General @usphscc pic.twitter.com/8HdkEOtWCS
— ADM Brett P. Giroir (@HHS_ASH) June 30, 2020
The RRC was created ten years ago and Congress had approved 2,500 personnel under it, but the legislation failed to add statutory authority for pay and benefits. The bill, the United States Public Health Service Modernization Act of 2019 (USPHS), was introduced in Congress to resolve this. The USPHS passed the Senate on Jan. 9 and it became law with the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, which includes the USPHS.
The Regular Corps consists of 6,100 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, and more than 4,500 of them were deployed during the CCP virus pandemic in support of the administration’s worldwide efforts, including deployment to the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and elsewhere.
The RRC will provide additional trained and ready personnel at short notice to critical crisis situations.
“Through the COVID-19 pandemic we have been reminded having a Reserve Corps is critical to our emergency response capabilities and will augment our capacity to strategically address public health needs across the nation,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health.
Giroir said the RRC will also deploy public health professionals who want to work in part-time active duty positions.
“Trained and ready personnel will fill critical public health needs and will preserve clinical care positions by maintaining a surge capacity of health professionals available for deployment without jeopardizing the service of clinicians in hard to fill roles,” said the HHS.
The USPHA Commissioned Corps will start to accept online applications for the RRC in the fall.