Capitol Correspondence - 04.07.20

Update on Personal Protective Equipment: ANCOR Letter, and What the Administration is Doing

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Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), the frontline staff providing people with disabilities with essential supports to stay healthy at home, have been experiencing the same shortage of protective gear (e.g., masks, gloves) that is confronting hospital workers and first responders. ANCOR has been advocating for the Administration to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) through coalition efforts. We signed onto a letter from the American Lung Association calling for urgent action.

As written in the letter:

“Despite these important actions, there are still far too many providers on the front lines without the protection needed to save lives without unduly endangering their own.7 Patient health is jeopardized as well when providers cannot access the supplies they need. In the midst of this shortage, providers have been forced to resort to potentially dangerous tactics, such as splitting ventilators between two different individuals or reusing masks, that exacerbate the risk for everyone involved, including patients. Policy interventions thus far have also largely been limited to increasing the manufacture of needed supplies. Increasing the supply only helps, however, if there are clear, fair, efficient and predictable ways to purchase and distribute both current stockpiles and supply that will be manufactured. Reports from governors, healthcare providers, public health professionals and first responders across the nation have made clear there are not.”

Recently, the Administration took the following steps on the production and distribution of PPE:

  • Invoking the Defense Production Act to:
    • Force six major medical device companies to produce protective masks and ventilators. The companies are: General Electric, Hill-Rom Holdings, Medtronic, ResMed, Philips and Vyaire Medical.
    • Prevent the export and hoarding of key supplies.