Health Professionals Call for Federal Coordination on Medical Supplies and Comprehensive Testing
Dear President Trump,
Cc Admiral Brett Giroir
Centralized, federal leadership is necessary for the efficient purchase and distribution of medical equipment, including personal protective equipment, ventilators, and testing resources. State governments depend on the federal government for aid and assistance during times of national emergency. Just as importantly, without central coordination, states are forced to compete against each other for critical supplies, which leads to skyrocketing prices and increased risk for members of the public and health care workers.
Therefore, we the undersigned strongly recommend the following:
1. The federal government should immediately establish a “medical equipment czar” and associated task force with the mission of overseeing the national supply and distribution of medical equipment. The task force should partner with the Defense Logistics Agency on logistics and national distribution, and be given the resources and authority to:
● Inventory and monitor the supply of medical equipment.
● Forecast the spread of the novel coronavirus to anticipate the need for medical supplies in areas that are experiencing high rates of infection.
● Ensure adequate production and procurement of medical supplies by working with the Trump administration to fully utilize the Defense Production Act.
● Oversee the purchase and end-to-end distribution of medical equipment directly to impacted areas.
2. The described task force undertakes its mission with full transparency by:
● Releasing detailed plans for task force organization and resource needs and allocation.
● Providing frequent updates throughout the course of the COVID-19 crisis detailing its efforts.
● Providing state and local governments with any information they need to coordinate response efforts.
3. Ensure that Admiral Giroir, the testing chief:
● Coordinates the effort to expand testing capacity and expedited test processing.
● Sets up infrastructure for widespread use of the COVID-19 serological test.
● Works with the Administration to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to get the tests and testing supplies, while setting clear standards for quality and expanding testing options through newly authorized labs, drive-through and home testing.
● Sets up a national, coordinated network that can identify and trace future pockets of infection before they multiply into larger outbreaks.
Thank you for considering our urgent request as health professionals work to save lives during this unprecedented public health challenge.