This opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasizes a need for a coordinated approach by local and national government, the private sector, and health care providers to attain needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.
The authors suggest:
- The President should use his power under the Defense Production Act (DPA) and direct ventilator manufacturers to maximize production, also order their suppliers to maximize the availability of raw materials, and bring other industries into this effort.
- The President should direct private-sector companies to make more PPE.
- The federal government should loosen regulatory burdens on the use of N95 masks in health care settings and facilitate distribution of these masks to states and facilities.
- State governments could encourage companies in their communities that might be able to shift production to making this equipment to do so.
- Reduce hoarding of PPE and to tap into already existing stockpiles in many nonmedical settings with a coordinated effort by local governments to collect these supplies
- Federal coordination of state sharing of equipment would be helpful from government agencies such as the CDC or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- Partnering with technology companies to track the availability of and projected needs for equipment in real time would also be helpful.