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Hospitals reject Trump’s claim they are ‘really thrilled’ with supplies

"Not a day goes by where we don't hear from hospitals and health systems across the country that are concerned about shortages of PPE."

  • By Sarah McCammon/NPR
Doctors test a hospital staffer Tuesday for coronavirus, in a triage tent that's been set up outside the E.R. at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx. Hospital workers are at higher risk of getting COVID-19, and public health experts fear a staffing shortage in the U.S. is coming.

 Getty Images

Doctors test a hospital staffer Tuesday for coronavirus, in a triage tent that's been set up outside the E.R. at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx. Hospital workers are at higher risk of getting COVID-19, and public health experts fear a staffing shortage in the U.S. is coming.

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(Washington) — An association representing thousands of hospitals across the country is pushing back after President Trump claimed that hospital administrators are “really thrilled to be where they are.”

The American Hospital Association said hospital officials are worried about shortages of critical medical supplies, including medication for patients and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for healthcare workers.

“Not a day goes by where we don’t hear from hospitals and health systems across the country that are concerned about shortages of PPE for their heroic front line caregivers,” Alicia Mitchell, the group’s senior vice president of communications, said in a statement to NPR.

She said that in addition to concerns about shortages of ventilators and other critical equipment and supplies, the association increasingly hears complaints about a lack of drugs needed for patient care.

A member of the Brooklyn Hospital Center COVID-19 testing team calls in the next patient in line, Thursday, March 26, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

A member of the Brooklyn Hospital Center COVID-19 testing team calls in the next patient in line, Thursday, March 26, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

“The AHA continues to urge that all levers be used by both the government and private sector to ensure those on the front lines have the resources and support they need to care for their patients and communities,” Mitchell said.

During the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Saturday, Trump said that hospital administrators “even in the really hot spots – you know what they are – are communicating directly with us that their level of supplies are meeting essential needs. And at the current time, they’re really thrilled to be where they are.”

The American Hospital Association and other medical groups have raised repeated alarms about a shortage of supplies like surgical masks needed to protect workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic as the nation’s death toll from the virus climbs above 8,000. Governors of hard-hit states including New York and Louisiana also have warned about shortfalls of supplies including ventilators.

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