AHA STATEMENT ON HHS OIG REPORT
President and CEO
American Hospital Association
April 6, 2020
This important and timely report by the HHS Office of the Inspector General accurately captures the crisis that hospitals and health systems, physicians and nurses on the front lines face of not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies and equipment in their fight against COVID-19.
Hospitals, health systems, physicians and nurses immediately need more PPE and testing supplies so they can diagnose their patients and additional beds and other critical equipment and supplies for patients such as oxygen, ventilators and IV poles. While not in the OIG report, there are also shortages of critical drugs for patient care that must be addressed. The OIG report also highlights the tremendous strain – both physical and emotional – that this pandemic is putting on the shoulders of heroic physicians, nurses and other caregivers and their families, and why they need our support during this critical time.
We are pleased that certain agencies within the Administration have responded to many of our concerns, particularly CMS, which has cleared regulatory red tape to allow hospitals the flexibility to take quick and decisive action in this rapidly changing situation to better care for patients. The agency has also quickly implemented certain provisions of the CARES Act to assist hospitals in dealing with some of their cash flow problems that threaten their ability to keep their doors open as a result of having to shut down regular operations while incurring substantial expenses for supplies, taking care of our front line caregivers and building surge capacity. Hospitals and health systems are in need of quick financial support from other provisions of the CARE Act in order to continue caring for their patients and communities as the virus spreads.
The AHA continues to urge that all possible levers be used by both the government and the private sector to ensure front line heroic providers battling against COVID-19 have what they need for protection and to provide care for their patients and communities -- countless lives are depending on it.