• News New Blog Banner

  • APTA Joins Push for PPE, More Consistent Use Recommendations

    A letter endorsed by 19 health care professional organizations not only urges Congress to step up efforts to supply providers with PPE, but to get CDC and other agencies on the same science-based page, and to take steps to ensure that shortages won't happen again.

    The federal government needs to not only do more to ensure that personal protection equipment is available to all health care workers, it needs to do a better job of providing consistent science-based advice on the use of PPE: That's the message APTA and 18 other health care professional organizations sent to Capitol Hill as the COVID-19 pandemic triggers shortages of crucial protective supplies.

    In a March 20 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, APTA and other organizations including the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Occupational Therapy Association urged legislators to take steps to "ensure that personal protection equipment … is available to all health care systems, facilities, and providers to ensure safe working environments during the current COVID-19 pandemic and any future crisis."

    The letter doesn't simply address supply shortages, however. The organizations also press for "more definitive and aligned statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about the transmission of coronavirus." Right now, the letter states, "the recent guidelines from both agencies differ on what masks or respirators are needed for health care providers."

    "Before any new guidance is released, the appropriate agency must have clear scientific evidence that the change in standards is proven to keep clinicians and their patients safe," the letter states, adding that "we urge Congress to include language in the next supplemental package to ensure the CDC communicates to the public the data-driven transmission science behind this decision."

    In addition for increased PPE availability and more consistent, science-based usage recommendations, the organizations also press for a list of additional actions by Congress, including mandating that a sustainable inventory of PPE be maintained at the Strategic National Stockpile, requiring that the Department of Health and Human Services develop better reporting rules around PPE use, and commissioning studies from the Government Accountability Office to review "root causes" of the current shortages as well as worldwide supply chain issues that could be improved in anticipation of future pandemics.

    According to Justin Elliott, APTA vice president of government affairs, the PPE letter is just one piece of the association's advocacy efforts around the coronavirus pandemic. Other efforts include grassroots communication efforts to increase telehealth opportunities for PTs and PTAs, and a push to press Congress for additional relief to physical therapy providers and patients.

    "In these extraordinary times, we need to not just react to current challenges but also be forward-thinking, looking at every possible avenue to ensure safety," Elliott said. "PPE is certainly one key element, but we're also keenly aware of opportunities to reduce transmission risk through new ways of thinking about providing care, including via telehealth. At the same time, we need to anticipate the potential harm this crisis could do to clinicians' livelihoods."

    Visit APTA's Coronavirus webpage for more information and updates.

    Comments

    • Thank you Justin Elliott, VP Government Affairs, great coordinated effort and timely work as always! We appreciate all you tirelessly do for the profession and patients we serve! Be well!

      Posted by Dr Gina Musolino PT, DPT, MSEd, EdD on 3/25/2020 12:20 AM

    • whats the take on group therapy in SNF CDC already blamed PT OT ST in Kirkland Washington SNF deaths We are being compelled to perform group therapy services yet OMG please save us APTA

      Posted by Deepak Bhagwandas on 3/26/2020 8:59 AM

    Leave a comment
    Name *
    Email *
    Homepage
    Comment