CHICAGO — As the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic grows and critical shortages in test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) remain unaddressed, the American Medical Association (AMA) continues to press the Administration to leverage every tool at its disposal, including fully employing production and distribution mechanisms of the Defense Production Act. While the President signed an Executive Order earlier in the week that would allow him to exercise this authority, it is unclear to what degree that authority is being utilized.
Shortages of this critical PPE are posing a significant risk for our ability to treat COVID-19 patients and contain the spread of this pandemic. Shortages continue to pose serious risks to the health and safety of our healthcare workforce, as well as the patients they treat.
“For days, physicians and frontline healthcare workers have been sounding the alarm that there is nowhere near enough PPE in the fight against COVID-19–a shortage that endangers patients and jeopardizes the entire response to this virus,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “Physicians don’t have enough masks; they are wearing a single mask all day, cleaning them at home, and sewing their own protective gear. Confronting COVID-19 requires an all-hands-on-deck approach from federal, state, and local governments, and we urge our leaders to pull every lever at their disposal to ramp up test kit availability and to equip physicians and the healthcare workforce to fight the virus. Anything less is unacceptable at this critical juncture.”
Earlier this week, the AMA called on the Administration to establish a Manhattan Project to meet the protective needs of frontline physicians and other caregivers.
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the AMA supports physicians in their care of patients by providing timely advocacy to policymakers and by providing evidenced-based tools, resources and information. These efforts include:
- Publishing an AMA COVID-19 online resource center, Physicians Guide to COVID-19, and a COVID-19 FAQ to help physicians prepare their practices, address patient concerns, and provide answers to physicians’ top questions.
- Providing a comprehensive overview of the coronavirus by the JAMA Network™–including epidemiology, infection control and prevention recommendations – available for free on its JN Learning website.
- Mobilizing a dramatic increase in the nation’s telemedicine capacity through its advocacy and publication of the Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice, a new resource to help physicians implement remote care.
- Advocating to policymakers about urgent administrative and legislative needs to ensure that hospitals, health systems, physicians and nurses are viable and directly supported for preparedness and response.
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About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.