Calling for Protections for Emergency Workers in the Next Stimulus

Health organizations across Illinois sent a letter urging Senators Durbin and Duckworth to priortize including protections for emergency workers in the next stimulus packet, due to be finalized by the end of the month.

Sabrina Clevenger

The Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, introduced in late April, aims to establish central, transparent coordination of the medical supply chain during the COVID-19 crisis. The President would be required to procure needed equipment and supplies, as well as establish a fair and reasonable price for them. 

It’s passed time for these provisions to be included in a coronavirus stimulus package, the next of which is expected in the coming weeks. Last week, Illinois PIRG joined the Illinois Public Health Association, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, EverThrive Illinois, the AIDS Foundation Chicago, the Respiratory Health Association, and the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging in sending a letter to Senators Durbin and Duckwoth urging them to prioritize these measures in the caucus and include them in the next stimulus. Both Senators support the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, and we thank them for their leadership on public health issues during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Over the last several months, rather than coordinating the supply chain and establishing a transparent system to get medical supplies directly to areas in need, the federal government has largely left states to fend for themselves. The result is that states, local governments, and hospitals are competing against each other for supplies, and healthcare workers aren’t getting what they need to protect themselves and save lives.

Health officials continue to express serious concerns over supply shortages, particular when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE). Amid rising cases and lack of federal support, these concerns have yet to be resolved, and are shared by health professionals across the country. 

We’re four months into this pandemic and health professionals still lack adequate personal protective equipment. As states, including Illinois, move into later phases of reopening, cases could rise, and the glaring holes in the medical supply chain will only get wider if these concerns aren’t adequately addressed. 

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Chris Murphy (CT) introduced The Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which would create a central, transparent system for procuring and distributing medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. The Act also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make a plan for scaling up production and optimizing distribution of testing supplies.

The House added provisions from this bill into the Heroes Act, its most recent coronavirus legislative package. Now, Illinois health groups are asking our Senators to urge Senate leadership to add the same language into the Senate’s next coronavirus package, which it is expected to take up in late July. 


Sabrina Clevenger