Inspector General testifies about PPE shortages

Local News

WASHINGTON, DC – House lawmakers today, during a virtual meeting, tried to get answers from a government watchdog about the department of health and human services.

A specific interest was a mass shortage in PPE for healthcare workers.

NewsChannel 34’s Trevor Shirley has more.

HHS inspector General Christi Grimm defended an April report which found, at the pandemic’s start, the healthcare system severely lacked personal protective equipment.

“these shortages resulted in some downstream effects because they had to treat patients as though they were presumptive positive,” says Grimm.

Democrats, like New York Representative Carolyn Maloney, said part of the problem was a lack of federal guidance.

“Hospitals reported that quote, government intervention and coordination could help reconcile this problem,” says Maloney.

But Republicans – like the Kentucky Representative James Comer – laid blame on China.

“Why did you not include the ongoing efforts by the administration to address the PPE shortages caused by China?” says Colmer.

“The report was really designed to be a quick snapshot of what was happening on the ground in hospitals,” says Grimm.

When the report came out in April, President Trump criticized its findings and has since moved to replace Grimm. But she told Lawmakers that isn’t affecting how she does her job.

“I personaly and professioanlly cannot let the idea of providing unpopular information drive decision making,” says Grimm.

Grimm said the report was produced quickly – after surveying hundreds of hospitals -to get a sense of what was needed, not the underlying cause.

“The report provided quick and reliable data from the ground,” says Grimm.

Grimm also told Lawmakers discussions are underway to investigate how the Federal Government doled out emergency supplies from the national stockpile.

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