More than 2,100 ventilators in the government’s stockpile are unusable, The New York Times is reporting.
The news comes as President Donald Trump has assured Americans the government is holding 10,000 ventilators in reserve to send to hospitals slammed by the coronavirus pandemic, the newspaper said.
But it said an additional 2,109 of the lifesaving devices in storage are unmaintained or otherwise unusable. The ventilators are not available after a contract to maintain the stockpile lapsed last summer. In addition, a contracting dispute meant that a new firm did not begin its work until late January.
The Times noted that state officials have reported that some ventilators they already havre received were not working.
And the newspaper said it is uncertain whether problems with the devices predate the lapse of the contract.
“We were given a stop-work order before we’d even started,” said Tom Leonard, chief executive of Agiliti, which was awarded the contract to service the stockpile ventilators
“Between the time of the original and the time of this contract award, I don’t know who was responsible or if anybody was responsible for those devices. But it was not us.”
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma had announced last month that there were almost 13,000 ventilators in the national stockpile that can be shipped out to hospitals if they need them.
"We have a stockpile of materials, of protective equipment, and we're working with hospitals to make sure that they understand what is available," Verma added.
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