Health groups call on U.S. Senate to protect emergency workers

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

Many states still face severe PPE shortages, emphasizing need for federal support


WASHINGTON– A coalition of leading public health and medical groups in several states across the country are urging U.S. senators, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to establish central, transparent coordination of the medical supply chain in the next coronavirus stimulus package. The coalition is petitioning the Senators because health officials from coast to coast have expressed serious concern about continued shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

“We’re four months into this pandemic and health professionals still lack adequate personal protective equipment. As states reopen and cases rise, the glaring holes in the medical supply chain will only get wider if we don’t fix them now,” said Matt Wellington, U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s director of public health campaigns. 

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 still 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.” 

The coalition is urging Senators to include 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, in the next coronavirus stimulus package. 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 the bill into the Heroes Act, its most recent coronavirus legislative package. The Senate is expected to take up its next coronavirus stimulus package in late July.