Skip to comments.Sen. Cruz to HHS: ‘Time Is of the Essence’ to Ensure Hospitals, Health Care Facilities Have Ventilators Critical to Treating COVID-19
Posted on 03/20/2020 10:25:48 AM PDT by conservative98
URGES HHS SEC. AZAR TO USE SIGNIFICANT POWERS OF THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT TO IMMEDIATELY ADDRESS SCARCITY OF LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
March 20, 2020 | 202-228-7561
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to immediately use the powers delegated to him by President Trump to order the production and distribution of ventilators, which are critical to treating individuals infected by COVID-19.
As Sen. Cruz wrote:
"On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA) and delegating authority to you, as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to order the production and distribution of healthcare supplies needed to protect Americans against COVID-19. I urge you to exercise these delegated powers to the fullest extent necessary to ensure that healthcare facilities across the country have the ventilators they need to treat all patients who become critically ill with this virus."
Warning that doctors in Italy, where the coronavirus death toll has exceeded 3,400 people, are being forced to turn away patients because they do not have enough ventilators to meet the growing demand, Sen. Cruz added:
"Without more ventilators (and workers to operate them), hospitals will soon be unable to provide these life-saving machines to a number of their critically ill patients, and doctors will have to make life-or-death decisions about who needs the machines most."
Sen. Cruz noted the U.S. could expect as many at 810,000 infected patients to require a ventilator - hundreds of thousands more than the nation's existing inventory of ventilators. He concluded:
"In this moment you should not hesitate to use the significant powers of the Defense Production Act delegated to you by the President to do what is necessary to ensure that Americans who contract this virus are not denied life-saving care because hospitals lack the appropriate machinery. Time is of the essence."
This call to action is a part of the four-part, all-hands-on-deck approach Sen. Cruz outlined last week to stop the spread of this global pandemic and protect human life by: Making testing more accurate and widely available. Ensuring we have enough of the essential medical supplies for first responders and health care professionals, Creating more capacity and providing critical resources for hospitals and medical facilities. Work quickly to develop and approve vaccines and cures. Sen. Cruz also introduced three pieces of legislation yesterday focused on increasing access to healthcare and expediting the approval for vaccines and treatments already approved in other countries.
Read the full letter below:
Secretary Alex Azar U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Azar:
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA) and delegating authority to you, as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to order the production and distribution of healthcare supplies needed to protect Americans against COVID-19. I urge you to exercise these delegated powers to the fullest extent necessary to ensure that healthcare facilities across the country have the ventilators they need to treat all patients who become critically ill with this virus.
This pandemic threatens to overrun this nation's healthcare resources. Approximately a week ago, the CDC considered a range of scenarios and estimated that between 160 million and 214 million people in the United States could be infected with COVID-19 over the course of this pandemic. This, in turn, according to the CDC, could result in between 2.4 million to 21 million people in the United States requiring hospitalization.
Because COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease that compromises an individual's ability to breath, some of the most critical patients with this virus may need access to a ventilator-a small machine that delivers air to the lungs through a tube placed in the windpipe-to survive. While it is uncertain how many people will need access to ventilators, the Wall Street Journal reported that "[a]s many as 810,000 U.S. coronavirus patients could need [them] by the end of May."
There are, however, only approximately 62,000 full-featured mechanical ventilators in the United States, and another 98,000 ventilators that could "provide basic function in an emergency during crisis standards of care." Without more ventilators (and workers to operate them), hospitals will soon be unable to provide these life-saving machines to a number of their critically ill patients, and doctors will have to make life-or-death decisions about who needs the machines most. As doctors in Italy recently explained, they are now "taking almost no patients older than 70" because "[t]here aren't enough ventilators to intubate all patients with Covid-19 who have severe breathing trouble."
Ensuring that our nation's health care facilities have sufficient ventilators must be a top priority. I applaud your efforts to "coordinate closely with private suppliers [and] health care purchasers . . . to ensure that resources are going where they're needed," but in this moment you should not hesitate to use the significant powers of the Defense Production Act delegated to you by the President to do what is necessary to ensure that Americans who contract this virus are not denied life-saving care because hospitals lack the appropriate machinery. Time is of the essence.
TED CRUZ is calling on Azar to use the Defense Production Act to immediately ramp up ventilator production. Time is of the essence. https://t.co/xbqg8cA4X9 pic.twitter.com/NRyz0Wj49r— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) March 20, 2020
Can’t c-paps be used as ventilators?
Really there should be enough or a large number already stockpiled.
There are plans in place for distribution.
This is what should be talked about not nonsense about if Trump said something wrong or other irrelevant blather.
I’m a little tired of people who are concerned about the number of health devices, equipment, and PPE available. The fearmongers who are upset that we weren’t prepared. Of course we weren’t. We do not have enough of many things for many dangerous scenarios. We could have had enough ventilators but it would have been at the expense of something else that we would squawk about there not being enough.
By the time you need a vent you’re 90% in a box.
Add yourself into the 100,000 per year lottery of healthcare acquired infections that result in death and that percent goes a little lower.
Prevention and aggressive use of stuff that works NOW(sorry about that additional year of profits for pharma/FDA) is the only way out.
Did the President not tell them or has he asked for Senators to contact them also. And why do we need to know that he asked them.
“Im a little tired of people who are concerned about the number of health devices, equipment, and PPE available.”
Yeah! Where do these damn selfish ICU doctors and nurses get off asking for minimal, basic protection anyway??
This is when the rational discussions should be had about how much resources and who gets them.
OKAY - THOSE DISCUSSIONS SHOULD HAVE STARTED about 30 years ago.
We cannot save everyone. Nuff said.
Next time this happens we need to separate hospitals from virus care. We should probably do it now. Or next year. We should take over hotels. Since hotels will get fewer guests they should be taken over has quick hospital rooms. This has two affects. One, it makes the remaining hotels more profitable. And it is a good use of an underutilized valuable resource. China made hospitals because they have few hotels.
Also, America should create tariffs for products made in China that are valuable to the US. You don’t have to make everything here. But if too much of, lets say masks or medicine is made there, put a large tariff on it. You want products to be made in the US or dispersed around the world, not just in China or even Asia.
Stop the CDC from making their own kits or trying to control tests. Frankly the CDC should not be in charge of the epidemic at all. They should only monitor on it and report. Bureaucrats are control freaks. And even their private industry suppliers are not as good as vendors who never sell to the government.
Open web-sites and YouTube video conferences. And keep it very up to date with as much data as possible. Stop the unnecessary media filter.
What he is saying is impossible. First of all, the number of ventilators needed is vastly over estimated. If the illness displayed a consistent need for for the device, that may be a point. But the illness, for ventilator purposes, is for the people with current lung diseases.
According to Lung.com. there are around 35 million Americans living with a chronic lung disease like asthma and COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. And that is a high approximation.
Further more, if people with the illnesses, like myself, stay indoors until this thing is under control, that guestimate of an 810,000 need is totally overblown.
I have both COPD and Asthma, and I have only been on a ventilator one time in my life, during surgery. So how important is the device if healthy people don’t require it because of our health competency here in the country? Comparing it to Italy, is not quite being consistent.
It is a good thing that Cruz wrote that letter, otherwise, no one would have ever guessed that the country needs more ventilators, or that they are a critical piece of machinery, and that he, Ted Cruz, is concerned about it all.
1. Publish an open source design. Control of a medical ventilator can be done by a $5 Arduino.
2. Fire up US-based PC board houses to build board and supply them at cost or have the feds pay for them.
3. The electronic and mechanical components needed are sitting in warehouses and in distributor inventory that can’t be shipped because their regular customers are shutting down. Put those people to work kitting up all the parts.
4. Let makers and hobbyists all over the country build them, download and program them, and supply them to local hospitals.
5. A cottage industry like this can literally pop-up overnight. All that’s needed is the design files and some coordination. And those exists.
I am serious, this can be done and you don’t need to try to turn a car factory into an electronic assembly line to do it. A ventilator will perform just as well without the fancy enclosure and seal of approval in a crisis.
Ah yes, more words from politicians.
Saint Ted of Canada crawls out from under his bed.
You have little concept of the allocation of scarce resources, which is to say, the basic study of economics, which is to what I speak.
Everything is scarce in some respect. If the nation’s production was geared primarily toward preparing for the occasional disaster instead of distributed as it is, you would be living in a much less pleasing world lacking many things.
Medical practitioners are using PPE at an unprecedented rate. No one could have predicted this. Had someone insisted that we stock hundreds of billions of masks, that person would have been ridiculed as insane, the system to manage such a supply would have been financially and otherwise onerous.
One of the problems is anti-gouging laws. As it stands, there is little incentive to produce more of anything that is needed. Prices are signals. Right now, there are no signals as to need. Remember, you do not eat out of the goodness of the butcher or baker’s heart but out of their need to satisfy their own interest and they cannot satisfy their own untilthey satisfy yours. During Hurricane Hugo, some people came in and sold ice for the unheard of price of $10 a bag. Other profiteers soon followed. We had ice, if we needed it. The police came along and arrested them for gouging and confiscated all the ice. No one got any ice. No one sought to bring ice to us at any price.
Not long ago, I remember people freaking out that we were not prepared for an attack against ricin. This is very true. We are not prepared to care of everyone as the result of any chemical attack. Were we prepared, we would be even less prepared to combat this virus and if we had hundreds of thousands of respirators, we would lack some other urgent or less urgent need. We cannot be prepared for all inevitabilities because most perceived threats are not inevitable. Remember, some people say all our coastal areas will be underwater soon. Were we putting all our efforts into building walls, raising buildings, etc., for this alleged inevitable threat, we would not have resources for this or any other situation.
So no, we do not have everything we need for everything and I tire of hearing about it. I do not wish ill on anyone. I well remember deciding what to forego to carry enough ammo and oddly, enough ammo was never enough ammo but trade offs are always made and you cannot be overly critical of these tradeoffs.
Senator Cruz is correct. If we were to attempt to prepare for each and ever possible disastrous event, that would be all we would be doing and nothing else.
“You have little concept of the allocation of scarce resources, which is to say, the basic study of economics, which is to what I speak.”
Yeah, well, I’m just figuring if you write off health care workers in a pandemic, you won’t have anybody to take care of the people who make an economy work in the first place. So you got yourself a real Catch-22. As the healthcare system fares, the economy fares.
No. As sanitation fairs you fair. If we dont have those wonderful people removing our trash and sewage, all the doctors, medical equipment and services in the world wont save you.
Am I to assume all or at least a significant portion of your time and money is spent on emergency preparedness?
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