Create a national distribution system for protective gear, AMA urges

The American Medical Association is urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to establish a national distribution system for personal protective equipment to ease the burden on hospitals and states.

The medical association penned a letter to FEMA April 13, expressing its "serious ongoing concern" with the availability of protective gear for staff. 

"We continue to let our dedicated physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers treat highly infectious patients at significant risk to their own health and well-being due to lack of appropriate PPE," the AMA wrote. 

The hospital association is asking FEMA to create a national system to procure and distribute protective equipment, because the current state-based system is "flawed."

States and facilities are frequently put in direct competition with other states and the federal government to buy necessary supplies, the AMA said.

Having the federal government act as a single source of procurement for critical supplies would take stress off states and other healthcare facilities by reducing administrative burden and "allow states and hospitals to benefit from the tremendous bargaining power of the federal government," the AMA said.

"This is an urgent matter to protect these brave men and women fighting on the front lines to save American lives," the medical association stated.  "We urge FEMA to take on a larger role in this fight, creating a national system of acquisition and distribution of all PPE."

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