Six of the largest medical equipment distribution companies in the country are concerned that critical supplies, including personal protection equipment, aren’t getting to areas seeing spikes in coronavirus cases, NBC News reports.
According to a memo obtained by NBC News, medical distribution companies are worried about how the Trump administration is coordinating distributing supplies to COVID-19 hot spots.
Chair of the House Oversight Committee Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, submitted the memo to the House Select Subcommittee on Thursday prior to its hearing on the administration’s efforts to get supplies out during the pandemic.
The companies told committee staff that securing PPE for medical staff and patients under the current conditions is “not sustainable,” Maloney wrote in the memo.
“Despite months of effort, there are still severe shortages of PPE and critical medical equipment, and the Trump administration has no coherent strategy to address these deficiencies,” Maloney wrote.
The memo specifically points out that the raw material needed for surgical gowns is “unavailable at any price.”
Maloney wrote that companies are warning that the supply of PPE for medical personnel is not meeting the demand and prices for raw materials have spiked “dramatically.”
The companies that shared concerns with the committee are suppliers, manufacturers and distributors to hospitals, medical practices and nursing homes.
The Health Industry Distributors Association, a conduit between the Trump administration and medical companies, told committee staff it has been asking the administration to create a national supply chain for months.
One of the companies, Medline, asked officials for a federal “umbrella” but “politics has gotten in the way of that,” the memo states.
Medline’s request isn’t the only one to go unheard. The memo outlines several requests to the White House Supply Chain Task Force for a coordinated federal response.
What they got was a project led by Jared Kushner called “Project Airbridge,” which gave free air transportation for certain companies importing PPE.
The companies told the committee they were urged by the Trump administration to buy PPE directly from “one particular Chinese company,” the memo states.
The company BYD, is an electric car and battery manufacturer heavily subsidized by the Chinese government. The companies said they declined to buy from BYD because the administration was asking them to “purchase at a price that was fairly high.”
The memo states efforts by states and medical providers to obtain supplies through Chinese brokers has “led to a series of problems.”
FEMA officials said the administration is not directing PPE to specific hotspots, according to the memo.
While FEMA officials agreed “the supply chain is still not stable,” they say distributors can now “do it on their own,” the memo states.
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