News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 30, 2020

Healthcare Societies Issue Urgent Call for Federal Action to Address COVID-19 Medical Equipment Shortages

AHA, ACC, SCAI, HRS, Heart Failure Society, Association of Black Cardiologists and several others say immediate action is needed in coronavirus crisis

AHA, ACC, HRS, SCAI and other medical societies call for federal government to do what is needed to get medical supplies to front-line clinicians fighting COVID-19. #COVID19 #SARScov2 #Coronavirus

March 30, 2020 — A group of 13 U.S. medical societies sent an open letter to Congress appealing to them to do what is needed to ensure the supply of critically needed medical equipment in the fight against novel coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2).

The the group of longstanding organizations said they represent doctors and clinicians on the front lines who are risking their lives caring for the world’s most vulnerable patients. They include:
   • American Heart Association (AHA)
   • American College of Cardiology (ACC)   
   • Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI)
   • Association of Black Cardiologists
   • Heart Failure Society of America
   • Heart Rhythm Society (HRS)
   • American Academy of Neurology
   • American Academy of Pediatrics
   • American Association for Respiratory Care
   • American College of Emergency Physicians
   • National Association of EMS Physicians
   • National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
   • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

The letter stated:

"We stand united in voicing our concern over the critical shortages of medical equipment, including ventilators, test kits and all types of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields and gowns, to adequately address the COVID-19 public health crisis.

These heroic providers didn’t hesitate to step up to help those affected by COVID-19, and it is time for the federal government to similarly step up to take emergency measures at the federal level to increase the supply of PPE and other essential equipment. We also strongly encourage and support efforts to redeploy equipment to the areas in most critical need at a given time, using data from organizations like the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Promoting the use of telemedicine will reduce the risk to providers and patients, and reduce the strain being placed on critical assets of our healthcare system — preventing further spread of infection and saving lives. 

This pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our health care system and the lives of the very health care professionals being asked to combat this insidious virus.  We are particularly concerned about the first responders, caregivers and patients in our most vulnerable communities and the tragic health disparities that could result. From first responders and EMTs, to doctors, nurses and all health care professionals, the dedication of these individuals to their patients and to our country demands an equal show of commitment by our federal government to their safety.

PPE is vitally needed to protect the caregivers who are risking their own health and welfare and those of their families in order to care for patients in the most need. The lack of essential medical equipment, especially ventilators and specialized facilities, is further endangering the lives of the sickest patients.

It is time that we all unite in support of our health care providers to protect their health and provide them with the resources and equipment they need to continue their lifesaving work.  We are equally committed to working with federal, state and local policymakers and public health officials to alleviate obstacles in the supply chain to ensure an urgent and equitable distribution of PPE across the nation."

The letter was signed:

Robert A. Harrington, M.D., FAHA
President, American Heart Association (AHA)

Richard J. Kovacs, M.D., FACC
President, American College of Cardiology (ACC)

James C. Stevens, M.D., FAAN
American Academy of Neurology

Sara H. Goza, M.D., FAAP
American Academy of Pediatrics
Thomas Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC
Executive Director/CEO
American Association for Respiratory Care

William P. Jaquis, M.D., FACEP
President, American College of Emergency Physicians

Michelle A. Albert, M.D., MPH
President, Association of Black Cardiologists

Biykem Bozkurt, M.D., Ph.D., FHFSA, FACC, FAHA, FESC
President, Heart Failure Society of America
Andrea M. Russo, M.D., FHRS
President, Heart Rhythm Society (HRS)

David K. Tan, M.D., EMT-T, FAAEM, FAEMS
President, National Association of EMS Physicians

Bill Seifarth, MS, NRP
Executive Director, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians

Ehtisham Mahmud, M.D., FSCAI
President, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI)

Donald E. Kerns, J.D., CAE
Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director, Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

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