La Crosse, WI – Yesterday, Rep. Ron Kind sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging them to work swiftly to provide appropriate PPE to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Wisconsin. This comes amid reports that Wisconsin nursing homes received defective and unusable PPE from FEMA, including expired gloves and garbage bags meant to be used as gowns.
Nursing homes are reporting severe shortages of PPE and have not been able to obtain sufficient equipment through their normal suppliers. Additionally, facilities are being forced to pay significantly higher prices for PPE than they were before the pandemic. Over 40% of deaths related to COVID-19 in Wisconsin have been linked to long-term care facilities, underscoring the need for immediate action from the Administration to rectify the shortage.
“After nearly six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unacceptable that Wisconsin nursing homes are still facing shortages of PPE,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Long-term care staff put their own health on the line to serve their residents, and the lack of a nationwide plan and the PPE shortage is putting staff, patients, and families at risk. It’s critical that the Administration develops a plan to ensure a consistent supply of PPE to long-term care facilities.”
In June, Rep. Kind introduced the bipartisan Infection Control Training and Support Act to provide additional resources for nursing homes to enhance quality of care and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure nursing homes are prepared for future public health crises. The text of this legislation was included in the HEROES Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.
Rep. Kind is a member of the Health Subcommittee on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful – and the oldest – committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.