House Members Demand FEMA Response to Reports of Faulty PPE Sent to Nursing Homes

August 6, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Representatives Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Don Beyer (VA-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and Maxine Waters (CA-43) and 31 colleagues in calling on FEMA to respond to recent reports that faulty masks, gowns, and gloves were sent to nursing homes. Currently, more than 40% of all COVID-19 deaths have been tied to nursing homes. The Members demanded answers as to how, and the level at which, faulty equipment was sent to nursing homes, how it has impacted staff and patients, and how FEMA plans to prevent such errors in the future.

“Currently, medical-grade respirator masks, single-use gloves, and isolation gowns are among the best options for nursing homes to protect residents and staff from outbreaks,” the Members wrote. “However, reports of your agency’s inadequate and faulty equipment distribution paint a dismal picture: loose gloves stuffed into unmarked bags, masks made from underwear fabric, and plastic gowns without openings for the hands. Not only are these reports of your failure to provide functional and appropriate PPE an embarrassment to FEMA and the federal government, but this equipment—intended to protect—put our already at-risk patients and staff at increased risk for infection. Moreover, this series of mistakes further undermines public trust in an institution they should be relying on for leadership and assistance during this pandemic.”

Representatives Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Mark Pocan (WI-02), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Judy Chu (CA-27), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-03), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Katie Porter (CA-45), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Bill Foster (IL-11), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA-04), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), John B. Larson (CT-01), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) joined the letter to FEMA.

The text of the letter is available here.

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