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Take part in PPE advocacy by calling on your elected leaders.
What is the Problem?
Healthcare workers do not have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves. Frontline healthcare workers are being asked to reuse masks, gowns and bring their own makeshift equipment to protect themselves while taking care of patients with COVID-19. This endangers workers, their families, and their patients at risk of contracting this disease which further reduces the capacity of our healthcare system to function effectively during this time.
What is PPE?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes N95 respirators, simple surgical masks, gowns, face shields, and gloves that protect workers from virus living on surfaces and that is airborne during situations of close patient contact. When treating patients suspected of having coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends contact and droplet precautions, which means healthcare workers need at least procedural masks, gloves, and eye protection but in certain circumstances also a respirator mask.
What is the MSTAD Act?
The MSTAD Act (Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act) is our strongest tool to ensure we reopen safely with adequate medical supplies for our healthcare professionals. This bill requires the federal government to scale production and transparent distribution of critical medical supplies, like PPE. The House passed the HEROES Act on May 15, which contained much of the same provisions but the bill failed to pass the Senate. MSTAD is a smaller piece of the HEROES act focused only on medical supplies. Specifically MSTAD would:
- Create “framework for an effective COVID-19 response by federalizing and adding critical oversight and transparency to the supply chain for critical medical supplies and equipment.”
- Require the Secretary of Defense to appoint a new Executive Officer for Critical Medical Equipment and Supplies who would be responsible for monitoring medical supplies, drugs, and vaccines at the national level to avoid shortages. They would work through current structures including coordinating with FEMA.
- Increase communication with state, local, and Tribal officials to ensure healthcare facilities have sufficient PPE and other medical supplies.
- Provide funding to support mobile testing, contact tracing, and expanded manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines.
- Provide publically available reporting, weekly, on requests, allocation, and deliveries. Furthermore there would be explanations when requests are not fulfilled.
The White House continues to avoid addressing medical supply shortages. As states and schools reopen, it is vital to be prepared for additional outbreaks. This act requires the federal government to plan for the next stage in the COVID-19 response.
How You Can Support PPE Advocacy
Call your Senator and urge them to support this bill to ensure healthcare workers get the protection they need to take care of their patients during this pandemic.