Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump's hiring freeze has left a scary number of public health jobs vacant

Rss@dailykos.com (laura Clawson) · Saturday, May 20, 2017, 10:40 am

Tom Price, Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary, calls the Centers for Disease Control “an absolute jewel to our nation.” But under his so-called leadership, the CDC has 700 vacant jobs thanks to a continuing hiring freeze.

Several positions are in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, which regulates some of the world's most dangerous bacteria and viruses and manages the nation's stockpile of emergency medical countermeasures. Others include positions in the director's office, infectious disease offices and the office for noncommunicable diseases, injury and environmental health.

The National Institutes of Health has the same problem:

At NIH, hiring is permitted for “essential patient care staff vacancies,” but reassignments are not allowed and contractors cannot be used for full-time duties, according to an internal NIH memo last month.

Some support positions, such as program assistants and laboratory assistants, remain vacant. Many of those personnel log in or handle patient specimens and issue reports, jobs that directly affect patient care, said a senior physician at the National Cancer Institute who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of funding retaliation.

Trumpcare is the big Republican effort to undermine health in the United States, but if they just underfund and understaff the CDC enough, maybe they can really jumpstart widespread health problems by keeping it from having the resources to respond to an epidemic.

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