To strengthen the nation’s medical supply chain for future public health emergencies, Congress should take steps to diversify the manufacturing and supply of critical raw materials; support reuse and reprocessing technologies; invest in developing new products and data standards to detect shortages early; and increase end-user inventories, AHA told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs today.
 
In a statement submitted to the committee for a hearing on the issue, AHA said the health care supply chain faced “unprecedented strain” over the past year due to high demand for personal protective equipment and other medical supplies during peaks in the COVID-19 pandemic.  
 
“A strong and reliable medical supply chain is a critical and integral component to delivering safe and effective high quality care to patients,” AHA wrote. “However, it has become increasingly clear that the level of fragility across our national medical supply chain is unsustainable and poses significant risk to hospitals and health systems, as well as the patients and communities they serve.”
 
Witnesses at the hearing included Shereef Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital in Newark, N.J., who described the critical supply and other challenges the government-run hospital faced during the pandemic.
 
“Today, we are in the final miles of the pandemic, but our public health crisis isn’t completely over,” he said. “We need to repair the cracks in our national healthcare foundation, including the medical supply chain, while there is time.”
 

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