Harrisburg, Pa. – May 4, 2020 — Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks) introduced a bill memo for co-sponsorship to ensure Pennsylvania has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles available during future public health emergencies like the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The current shortages of vital supplies across our Commonwealth, including masks and gowns, have forced healthcare workers, first responders and others on the front lines of this crisis to use PPE longer and more often than is safe. The federal government’s PPE supply chain has not been able to meet current demands, and states have been pitted against each other and the federal government to purchase limited supplies at inflated prices. In the future, Pennsylvania must produce it’s own PPE stockpile plan to prepare our state and fulfill our healthcare system’s needs before potential future pandemics or other mass public health emergencies.
“I’ve heard from countless healthcare workers and first responders struggling to protect themselves and their patients with limited PPE. This is unacceptable,” said Senator Collett. “As a nurse, I know firsthand that these supplies save the lives of patients and caregivers. We must prepare for future pandemics by shoring up our PPE stockpiles now. I encourage my colleagues to sign on and support this important legislation to plan for Pennsylvania’s future.”
The proposed legislation would establish adequate PPE stockpiles by:
- Creating a $10 million budget for the Life-Saving Equipment Program with the PA Department of Health (DOH) to ensure the state has the resources to combat future pandemics;
- Creating the Technical Assistance program by funding it $5.3 million, a collaboration between local businesses and manufacturers to create a 90 day PPE stockpile for Pennsylvania. The critical stockpile would give the state the opportunity to get PPE into the hands of health workers before the hospital system feels the strain.
- Providing $700,000 in resources to ambulance and emergency service organizations for advanced training on pandemic responses, including the use of ventilators.
Pennsylvanians were promised 5.2 million N95 masks from the federal government, but to date only 445,000 have been delivered. Pennsylvania must stand at the ready in our emergency response preparedness and implement these life-saving programs.