White House launches ventilator reserve program

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President Donald Trump announced in a press briefing earlier this week a new public-private program aimed at allowing hospitals to lend unused ventilators and supplies to areas that need them to treat patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The President said that, by invoking the Defense Production Act, the United States will soon have 150,000 to 200,000 "high quality ventilators." In addition, the federal stockpile has 10,000 that can be moved to any state with a surge of COVID-19 patients, he said.

The new initiative, called the Dynamic Ventilator Reserve, was introduced to healthcare executives Tuesday afternoon before the press briefing. Adam Boehler, CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, said during the briefing that U.S. hospitals have more than 60,000 ventilators not currently in use.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) stepped up to design an online system that allows hospitals to lend ventilators to other hospitals when they need it. According to the AHA website, the system features an online inventory of ventilators and associated supplies, such as tubing and filters. Hospitals and health systems will input into the database available equipment that they are able to lend to others in the country. Providers are then able to access this virtual inventory as their need for ventilators increases.

Boehler said during the press briefing that within the past week alone, 20 health systems have signed up for the program, including the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, as well as health systems from New York City, New Orleans, Washington State, and California, representing over 4,000 ventilators.

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