DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable Bradley Scott Schneider
Sent By:
Chelsey.Rice-Davis@mail.house.gov

DEADLINE: COB April 8, 2020

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in requesting House and Senate leadership include language creating a supply chain director or “czar” in the next stimulus package to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has put incredible strain on our medical supply chain. Demand for critical supplies, in particular personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, has skyrocketed without sufficient production, leaving states and hospitals

to compete and outbid fellow states over scarce resources
. Federal agencies are placing or fulfilling competing orders

with little to no direction
, often times “intercepting” orders initially procured by the states. Simultaneously, the marketplace has been flooded with fraudsters and third-party vendors looking to profit from the pandemic, subjecting hospitals and essential
employers to price-gouging and waits for orders that are likely never to be filled.

To optimally address this a supply and logistics challenge unprecedented in our nation’s history, our country needs a consolidated and coordinated federal response. Creating a medical supply chain director, or “czar,” empowered with statutory authority to
oversee the production, allocation, and distribution of critical supplies, will streamline and expedite decision-making and reduce complexities and inefficient competition in our current system. Such authorities could include, but are not limited to:

  • Comprehensively survey states, hospitals, and essential employers, using existing resources and reporting where possible, to determine need of critical supplies, including the creation of a national database of current hospital capacity and supplies;
  • Mandate, facilitate and enforce sufficient production levels under the Defense Production Act, particularly for components and raw materials;
  • Become the centralized procurer of critical supplies, using the centralized authority and purchasing power to ensure an end to rampant price-gouging in the marketplace, including in the transportation of critical medical supplies;
  • Distribute supplies based on most urgent need, at the discretion of the czar;
  • Report daily supply gaps and progress made in closing the gaps.

Hospitals and states should focus on what they do best – caring for patients and limiting the spread of COVID-19. Please join us in calling for the creation of a medical supply chain czar by contacting Vic Goetz (vic.goetz@mail.house.gov)
in Rep. Schneider’s office.

Sincerely,

 

_________________           _________________

Bradley S. Schneider           Katherine Clark

Member of Congress           Member of Congress

 

_________________

Angie Craig

Member of Congress

 

April 8, 2020

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer,

As you consider legislative priorities in any upcoming stimulus packages to address the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you include the creation of a singular emergency COVID-19 medical supply chain statutory authority (i.e., “supply chain czar”). This authority
should establish centralized responsibility to oversee and direct the unprecedented nation-wide production, acquisition and distribution of medical equipment critical to COVID-19 response with the expressed goal of streamlining and expediting delivery of in-demand
supplies, while also reducing or eliminating the inter-state bidding wars that are driving up prices.

Our hospitals and providers continue to suffer from a lack of critical equipment, namely ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), resulting in substandard care, unsafe work conditions, and increasingly critical staffing shortages. Similarly,
essential employers, such as grocers, truck lines and essential manufacturers (including makers of desperately needed ventilators) need access to PPE and cleaning/sanitizing supplies to avoid supply chain disruptions of essential goods and
ensure a safe environment for both employees and customers.

This scarcity of these supplies, devices and equipment has left states to compete with one another to meet demand thus driving up prices, as well as subjecting hospitals and essential employers to price-gouging tactics from suppliers and charlatans looking
to profit off the pandemic. Manufacturers are similarly left to decide between competing orders with minimal federal direction, possible fraudulent orders, and limited to no ability to increase production without the necessary access to subassemblies and component
parts.

Unfortunately, the allocation of life-saving equipment and supplies has been uncoordinated and regrettably, at times, politicized. The Strategic National Stockpile has a grossly insufficient supply of ventilators and PPE, and further exacerbating the problem,
that supply has to date not been appropriately allocated to states and localities based on severity of need.

We urge you to immediately remedy this situation by legislating a supply chain director, or “czar”, with statutory authority to oversee the manufacturing and distribution of ventilators, PPE, and other critical supplies. The director
should work to eliminate complexity for all links in the supply chain, including states, hospitals, manufacturers, federal agencies, and essential employers. Such authorities could include, but are not limited to the ability to:

  • Comprehensively survey states, hospitals, and essential employers, using existing resources and reporting where possible, to determine need of critical supplies, including the creation of a national database of current hospital capacity and supplies;
  • Mandate, facilitate and enforce sufficient production levels under the Defense Production Act, particularly for components and raw materials;
  • Become the centralized procurer of critical supplies, using the centralized authority and purchasing power to ensure an end to rampant price-gouging in the marketplace, including in the transportation of critical medical supplies;
  • Distribute supplies based on most urgent need, at the discretion of the czar;
  • Report daily supply gaps and progress made in closing the gaps.

Thank you for your rapid response to this ongoing pandemic. We appreciate your timely and close consideration of this urgent matter.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Consumer Affairs, Economy, HealthCare, Labor, Technology, Transportation

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