JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Hospitals and health care organizations are accepting public support in efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis in Missouri. The Missouri Hospital Association is requesting that businesses and individuals with stocks of personal protective equipment donate unused supplies to health care workers to help protect hospital and health care staff, patients and members of the community.
“Any PPE that businesses or individuals have that can be put into the health care pipeline will support hospitals and health care providers at this critical time,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA President and CEO. “Supplies like N95 protective masks are in short supply. These and similar masks are used in many non-health care functions and could immediately be put into use if donated. We’ve made more than 1,500 contacts with individuals and organizations, but will accept any approved, unused PPE Missourians can supply.”
Hospitals and other providers are beginning to experience shortages of PPE. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health authorities recognize the N95 mask as the gold-standard for protection against transmission. Although the state and federal stockpiles of PPE are being delivered to the health care system through state agencies, these resources are likely to be inadequate as the number of cases increases in Missouri. Other items, including approved goggles, face shields and disposable gloves, are also essential and increasingly at shortage levels.
A small number of hospitals also are beginning to report workforce shortages. Many frontline caregivers and the staff that support them are working extended shifts. At the same time, since the virus is present in the community, health care workers — just as all Missourians — can be exposed outside of the health care setting.
“Our health care system is dependent on the availability of skilled caregivers,” Kuhn said. “Individuals with health care training and certification are being encouraged to assist with the staffing challenges that could materialize. Retired or non-practicing individuals who can move back into the health workforce could help reduce the workforce challenge in the weeks ahead.”
Individuals and organizations with supplies they are willing to donate should contact: Daphney Partridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health care professionals who are interested in returning to the workforce can contact:
Missouri Division of Professional Registration
Missouri State Board of Nursing
Missouri Board of Healing Arts
The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association in Jefferson City that represents 140 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues.