Health Editor’s Note: For any facility to be without personal protective gear for its healthcare workers is unconscionable. This is amid reports that N95 masks were disappearing, as if into thin air. A few days ago, Trump was undeservedly blaming nurses for stealing N95 masks. Why does the VA still not have adequate numbers of PPEs for its healthcare staff? There are poorly thought up excuses stating that PPEs are being diverted to FEMA for its emergency stockpile. ARE WE NOT IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION AT THIS TIME?….Carol
VA health chief acknowledges a shortage of protective gear for its hospital workers
The Washington Post’s Lisa Rein reports: For weeks, VA health chief acknowledges a shortage of protective gear for its hospital workers. VA officials denied it.
But in an interview, the physician in charge of the country’s largest health-care system acknowledged the shortage — and said masks and other supplies are being diverted for the national stockpile.
“I had 5 million masks incoming that disappeared,” said Richard Stone, executive in charge of the sprawling Veterans Health Administration. He acknowledged that he’s been forced to move to “austerity levels” at some hospitals.
Stone said the Federal Emergency Management Agency directed vendors with equipment on order from VA to instead send it to FEMA to replenish the government’s rapidly depleting emergency stockpile.
FEMA has responded to President Trump’s decision to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost supplies as governors have made frantic requests for masks, ventilators, medical gowns and other supplies, depleting the stockpile. […]
The shortages, and the agency’s claims that they did not exist, have been a low point in what observers say is an otherwise commendable response by VA to the pandemic. The health system, with fewer covid-19 patients than it expected, is now reaching out to assist veterans in troubled state facilities.