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New York State paying 15x more for medical equipment than normal

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | April 06, 2020
Business Affairs Risk Management

Distributors are calling on the federal government to adjust allocations based on need, and several cities have even written to the federal government for a designated “medical equipment czar” who can buy all supplies and fulfill requests from local jurisdictions. Chaun Powell, vice president for strategic supplier engagement at the national health care consultant Premier Inc., says states and hospitals will have to continue paying higher prices than normal if the federal government does not intervene.

“The more COVID patients they get, the more masks they’re going to burn,” Powell told ProPublica. “They’re getting desperate because they’re running out faster, so they’re willing to pay.”

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No federal or state laws provide guidance on situations in which government agencies on every level are competing with one another for the same goods. President Donald J. Trump recently announced that he will extend the Defense Production Act to allow the head of the Department of Health and Human Services to assist six manufacturers in obtaining supplies to develop ventilators, reported The Hill.

The president, however, has at times blamed states for their pandemic problems and recently rejected Cuomo’s claim that the state was in need of tens of thousands of ventilators.

“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” he told Sean Hannity in a Fox News interview. “You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he agrees with Cuomo’s estimate, according to the New York Post. “One way or another, he needs the ventilators that he needs and hopefully we will get him the ventilators that he needs ... Bottom line, he’s got to have the ventilators. Period.”

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