This section is continually updated based on conversations with Kansas City-based healthcare provider leaders.
I am running for Congress to support citizens like you and healthcare providers responsible for managing your health and that of your family. As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continues to rise, now more than ever the American people don’t want politics they want leadership and clear direction.
I have spent more than 15 years working on health management in the United States, and believe the nation needs a three-point COVID-19 response plan that continues to improve upon:
- Disease detection;
- Risk mitigation; and
- Supply chain management.
Detection. The U.S. was slow in rolling out testing for the Coronavirus. In comparison, countries like South Korea tested roughly one out of every 200 citizens in order to detect, slow the outbreak, and decrease mortality rates. Testing availability and processing speed need to increase – inclusive of healthcare providers getting tested. The best step we can take is to enable health systems, at the point of care, to be able to test, process, and share the results with public health for surveillance. Some leaders in Kansas City are now processing results within 10 hours.
Risk mitigation. Since the Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, I have been in communication with multiple Kansas City healthcare leaders about their recommendations and responses to the disease. Many are taking great steps to be prepared on the front lines of community health. This includes, but is not limited to, quarantine for healthcare providers to mitigate additional infection, telehealth opportunities for both providers and patients, and canceling elective procedures to free up healthcare capacity and allow providers to spend more time with patients who are in crisis situations. In more recent weeks, healthcare organization leaders have also put an emphasis on well-being strategies for providers, inclusive of peer-to-peer support and a focus on stress management and self-care.
Supply Chain Management. Providers I have spoken with remain concerned about having the medical supplies necessary. The Federal government, in partnership with States, has taken more responsibility in supply chain management. The responsibility of the federal government is first and foremost national safety and security. The Federal government needs to take more aggressive steps in oversight planning of our supply chain. While our region has received an allotment of supplies designated for States, we have not yet received additional resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Many of the needed products are manufactured in China which has reported operating at 50% capacity, continues to provide limited information, and delays in delivery. US healthcare providers who are our communities’ first line of defense should not have to depend on a medical supply chain that is coming from a single country. Let me be clear – I strongly support international business, but the role of our Federal Government is first and foremost the safety and security of our citizens. I was happy to see President Trump invoke the Defense Production Act to plug immediate gaps in our supply chain.
Now is the time for all of us to have compassion for those suffering in our country and to be thankful for the sacrifice made by our providers on the front line. Together, our strong country will make it through this difficult time.