DOJ seizes hundreds of thousands of medical supplies
How healthcare providers stand to benefit
Over the past few weeks, long-term care operators have faced countless challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns and gloves become scarcer by the day, more and more providers are starting to conserve their stock. In fact, advocates from The American Medical Association and The Joint Commission recently advised facilities to loosen up on their PPE policies.
“Allow staff to enhance their own protection,” said a spokesperson from TJC. “That increased protection may offer peace of mind sufficient for staff to attend fully to caring for the patients that so desperately need their help.”
While ‘bring-your-own’ is better than nothing, employers still want to ensure workers are adequately protected. Now, as an endless March turns into April, facilities will finally get some reprieve. The Department of Justice just announced that over half a million PPE and other supplies will be available to LTC operators aſter a massive confiscation mission.
Supplying the frontlines
In cooperation with the FBI, the DOJ’s ‘COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force’ will distribute the confiscated supplies to the nation’s hardest hit areas including healthcare facilities in New York and New Jersey.
“President Trump’s all-of-America approach to combating the coronavirus involves an aggressive approach to stopping hoarding,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Attorney General William P. Barr added, “If you are amassing critical medical equipment for the purpose of selling it at exorbitant prices, you can expect a knock at your door.”
An HHS press release noted that the government will pay violators for the products—but only fair market value. Leaders hope that the White House’s swiſt action will deter future acts of hoarding and price gouging as we continue to combat COVID-19.
The 500,000+ seized items were delivered to New York and New Jersey health officials as of April 2nd. Presumably, they will begin distributing masks, respirators, gowns, disinfectant towels, particulate filters, hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant to local workers starting the week of April 6th. Upon news of the raid, Trump’s assistant Peter Navarro assured the public that “this is the first of
many such investigations that are underway.”
Government officials ask any vendors interested in selling supplies to contact FEMA. If you suspect an individual or supplier of PPE price gouging, the National Center for Disaster Fraud is also receiving tips by phone (1-866-720-5721) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org).