Health groups Call on US Senate to protect emergency workers in next stimulus

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Senators Warren and Markey support key bill as Massachusetts still faces severe PPE shortages, emphasizing need for federal support

MASSPIRG

Health groups Call on US Senate to protect emergency workers in next stimulus

Senators Warren and Markey support key bill as Massachusetts still faces severe PPE shortages, emphasizing need for federal support

Boston—A coalition of groups including MASSPIRG,  Health Care for All, Massachusetts Public Health Association, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, and several other groups sent letters to Senator Warren and Senator Markey today thanking them for supporting the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which would establish central, transparent coordination of the medical supply chain during the COVID-19 crisis. The groups are also asking Senator Warren and Markey to urge the Senate leadership to include the legislation in the next coronavirus stimulus package. The letter comes after health officials expressed serious concern over continued shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid rising cases and a lack of federal support.

“We’re four months into this pandemic and health professionals still lack adequate personal protective equipment. As Massachusetts reopens, cases could rise, and the glaring holes in the medical supply chain will only get wider if we don’t fix them now,” said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for MASSPIRG.

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.

“As cases of COVID-19 skyrocket across the country, health professionals are in dire need of masks, gloves, and other protective equipment. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we need the federal government to step up and centrally coordinate the medical supply chain,” says Val Griffeth MD, PhD, Co-founder of Get Us PPE. “Protecting frontline workers while they work to save lives is a critical step in slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

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. We are calling on the Senate to add the same language into their next coronavirus package, which it is expected to take up in late July.

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MASSPIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. Visit www.masspirg.org  for more info.

 

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