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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 30, 2020 04:41 PM
From: Senator Maria Collett
To: All Senate members
Subject: Ensuring Adequate Pennsylvania PPE Stockpiles
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would ensure Pennsylvania has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles available to address health care needs during public health emergencies, such as those caused by COVID-19.
The federal government PPE supply chain has challenges meeting large and unexpected increase demand. States are bidding against each other and the federal government to buy PPE. Due to the overwhelming demand for PPE, states have been hampered in their ability to handle the virus, and supply costs have been driven up. Pennsylvania needs to produce its own PPE stockpile plan to ready our state and shore up our healthcare system’s needs before potential future pandemics.
Right now, over the Federal Government is failing the states and Pennsylvania in forced to compete to acquiring medical supplies. The shortage of vital supplies, including masks and gowns, has forced healthcare workers to use PPE longer and more often than it was intended. Pennsylvania should make targeted investments to stockpile essential PPE so we are protecting our frontline healthcare workers and the patients who may be affected by any future pandemics.
The legislation would specifically provide for the following: 
  • Create $10 million budget for the Life-Saving Equipment Program with the PA Department of Health (DOH) to ensure the state has the resources to combat future pandemics;
  • Create the Technical Assistance program by funding it $5.3 million, a collaboration between local businesses and manufacturers to create a 90 day PPE stockpile for Pennsylvania. The critical stockpile would give the state the opportunity to get PPE into the hands of health workers before the hospital system feels the strain.
  • Provide $700,000 in resources to ambulance and emergency service organizations for advanced training on pandemic responses, including the use of ventilators.
Pennsylvania was promised 5.2 million n95 masks by the federal government. However, only 445,000 have been delivered. The lack of federal support and preparation on this front has contributed to the loss of many American lives. As a state, Pennsylvania must stand at the ready in our emergency response preparedness and implement life-saving programs such as these before the next pandemic.
I encourage my colleagues to join me in creating PPE stockpiles for Pennsylvania.