Rural America’s Hospitals Need Personal Protective Medical Gear, Ventilators – Tester Implores Trump Administration

Senator: “I implore you to consider the shortages that already plague rural America”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today implored the Trump Administration to ensure that rural states like Montana have access to test kits, personal protective equipment, adequate medical supplies, and ventilators. After speaking with leading health officials across the state, Tester expressed the urgent need for basic resources as health care workers step up to the front line to combat COVID-19.

“Rural America faces unique challenges in responding to COVID-19,” Tester wrote. “…As the nation’s health care system prepares for an influx of patients, the needs of rural providers must be accounted for. As the Department of Defense carries out a strategic lift of 500,000 diagnostic swab kits for COVID-19, five million N-95 respirator masks, and 2,000 ventilators, I implore you to consider the shortages that already plague rural America. While the ‘hot spots’ of COVID-19 may not yet have reached rural America, the impact of COVID-19 may be more catastrophic in these remote communities if they are not readily equipped to face the incoming challenges.”

In his letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Tester also requested the Administration deploy urgently needed National Disaster Medical System personnel to affected rural areas, since rural communities have the most abject health workforce shortages.

Tester has led the charge in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He has introduced legislation-now law-to guarantee testing for the virus will be at zero cost, and he passed bipartisan legislation through the Senate to ensure veterans GI benefits are protected during the outbreak. He has also doubled down on his efforts to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to provide veterans, VA healthcare staff, and Tribes with access to proper resources and information.

Full letter text HERE.