Leading Health Care Groups Issue Urgent Call for Federal Action to Address Medical Equipment Shortages

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As longstanding organizations representing and supporting those on the front lines who are risking their lives caring for the world’s most vulnerable patients, we stand united in voicing our concern over the critical shortages of medical equipment, including ventilators, test kits and all types of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields and gowns, to adequately address the COVID-19 public health crisis.

These heroic providers didn’t hesitate to step up to help those affected by COVID-19, and it is time for the federal government to similarly step up to take emergency measures at the federal level to increase the supply of PPE and other essential equipment. We also strongly encourage and support efforts to redeploy equipment to the areas in most critical need at a given time, using data from organizations like the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Promoting the use of telemedicine will reduce the risk to providers and patients, and reduce the strain being placed on critical assets of our health care system -- preventing further spread of infection and saving lives.

This pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our health care system and the lives of the very health care professionals being asked to combat this insidious virus. We are particularly concerned about the first responders, caregivers and patients in our most vulnerable communities and the tragic health disparities that could result. From first responders and EMTs, to doctors, nurses and all health care professionals, the dedication of these individuals to their patients and to our country demands an equal show of commitment by our federal government to their safety.

PPE is vitally needed to protect the caregivers who are risking their own health and welfare and those of their families in order to care for patients in the most need. The lack of essential medical equipment, especially ventilators and specialized facilities, is further endangering the lives of the sickest patients.

It is time that we all unite in support of our health care providers to protect their health and provide them with the resources and equipment they need to continue their lifesaving work. We are equally committed to working with federal, state and local policymakers and public health officials to alleviate obstacles in the supply chain to ensure an urgent and equitable distribution of PPE across the nation.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org

Contact: Steve Arnoff | sarnoff@acep.org | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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