Today, #GetUsPPE is working to build a more robust database and to create scoring systems that can help prioritize PPE distribution equitably. The nonprofit’s goals include getting PPE to safety-net hospitals, nursing homes, tribal communities, and even detention centers where needs are acute. Smaller health care centers lack the buying power of larger health systems and institutions, the co-founders say, and physicians often have more influential voices than other kinds of health care workers. In late April, #GetUsPPE partnered with Project N95 to create the Demand Data Hub, a single site for registering PPE needs and tracking shortages.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 05 – May 2020
“As more supply comes in, our hope is that we can facilitate equitable distribution across the country and make sure people are treated fairly, that PPE is not just going to the most convenient places,” said Dr. He, noting that the group should soon have news about its matching-and-distribution algorithm.
Dr. Griffeth continues to monitor and advocate for legislation working its way through Congress, looking for opportunities to address everything from PPE shortages to the lack of adequate COVID-19 testing capacity. As emergency physicians, #GetUsPPE’s co-founders say they were poised to confront this challenge. They are, after all, Dr. Griffeth said, committed to solving whatever problems come through their doors.
“I think, to me, it also speaks to the urgency we see in the emergency [department] and the kind of salience we like as emergency physicians,” Dr. He said, noting that emergency physicians are also “at the forefront of tech.”
Dr. Ranney described emergency physicians as “canaries in the coal mine” for problems in the health care system, among the first to note shortages, new diseases, and new treatments. Through her work on the board of the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM), she has helped #GetUsPPE achieve 501(c)(3) status and benefit from infrastructure already in place, including the ability to accept financial donations to assist in making it to the next phase.
“We are working nationally and internationally with the supply chain to help fix it,” she said. “It highlights a lot of the systemic issues in the health care system that we in emergency medicine know so well. We’ve been putting Band-Aids on the health care system for a long time, and we’re trying to pull those Band-Aids off to fix the issues that frustrate us on a daily basis.”
- Griffeth V, Choo E, Trueger S, et al. Open letter on COVID-19 and personal protective equipment. #GetUsPPE website. Accessed April 28, 2020.
- Ranney ML, Griffeth V, Jha AK. Critical supply shortages—the need for ventilators and personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic [published online ahead of print March 25, 2020]. N Engl J Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp2006141.