WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, questioned Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials on the department’s COVID-19 preparedness and urged implementation of measures to enhance efficiency of its supply chain.
“The demand of supplies continues to be a huge problem,” Boozman said of personal protective equipment (PPE). “It does make me think of the importance of having a stockpile like we used to have.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has put stress on the VA’s PPE stock and other medical supplies.
In a hearing Tuesday, Boozman asked if Congress needs to provide additional authority to the VA to ensure its reserve of medical equipment is sufficient for a future wave of COVID-19 and other medical emergencies.
Dr. Richard Stone — the executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration –– said it would be beneficial for the VA to be allowed to partner with the Department of Defense which already has the authority to work with manufacturers to ensure medical PPE supplies in storage are rotated so that they are ready and usable when needed by medical professionals.