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Laura Deehan,
CALPIRG

Health groups ask Sen. Harris and Sen. Feinstein to protect emergency workers in next stimulus

California still faces severe PPE shortages, emphasizing need for federal support
For Immediate Release

Oakland-- CALPIRG, American Academy of Pediatrics- CA, SF Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility, and several other groups sent a letter to Senator Harris and Senator Feinstein on July 2nd 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 Sen. Harris and Sen. Feinstein to urge 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 cases in California rise, the glaring holes in the medical supply chain will only get wider if we don’t fix them now,” said Laura Deehan, CALPIRG Public Health Advocate

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. Now, California health groups are asking Sen. Harris and Sen. Feinstein 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. 

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CALPIRG 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.calpirg.org for more info. 

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