Menendez, NJ Delegation Call on Trump Admin to Send Hospital Reinforcements: Stat

Menendez, NJ Delegation Call on Trump Admin to Send Hospital Reinforcements: Stat

Delegation requests four federal medical stations, 1K hospital beds to help NJ handle COVID-19 outbreak

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today led a New Jersey congressional delegation request for the Trump Administration to set up four, 250-bed federal medical stations (FMS) in order to increase capacity in the state’s already taxed health system with COVID-19 cases on the rise.  These rapidly deployable units contain beds, supplies and medicines, and can quickly turn a pre-identified building into a temporary medical shelter.

“Numbers are sure to rise as the State expands testing and more individuals contract the disease via community spread. Initial predictive modeling indicates that, within one to two weeks, the State will be hitting capacity within our current licensed capacity for ICU/CCU,” the lawmakers wrote to the heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  “New Jersey is in immediate need of four FMS units…. [E]pidemiological models from Rutgers University show that even ‘with a high level of social distancing, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Jersey could wind up in the neighborhood of 1.1 million.’”

New Jersey already has nearly 2,000 confirmed cases and 20 deaths from COVID-19 coronavirus and not enough hospital capacity to handle the onslaught of expected cases.  The state has only 26,000 licensed hospital beds, including 700 isolation beds, 1,183 intensive-care beds and 23,687 acute-care beds. 

“We need immediate assistance from the federal government to prevent our hospital and healthcare system from being overwhelmed,” the lawmakers continued, adding FMS units are the most efficient, cost-effective solution to New Jersey’s dire hospital bed shortage.  

The letter was signed by Sens. Menendez and Cory Booker and U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.-02), Andy Kim (N.J.-03), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06), Tom Malinowksi (N.J.-07), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09), Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.-11), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12). 

Full text of the letter is below and can be downloaded here

March 22, 2020

 

The Honorable Peter Gaynor                                     The Honorable Alex M. Azar II

Administrator                                                               Secretary

Federal Emergency Management Agency                 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

500 C St SW                                                               200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20024                                            Washington, D.C. 20201

 

Dear Administrator Gaynor and Secretary Azar: 

We write to request that four 250-bed Federal Medical Stations (FMS) be provided to New Jersey. As of March 22, 2020, the State is reporting 590 new positive test results, and the Statewide total is now 1,914, including 20 deaths.   This places New Jersey among the most impacted States in the country, along with New York, Washington, and California.   Numbers are sure to rise as the State expands testing and more individuals contract the disease via community spread.  Initial predictive modeling indicates that, within one to two weeks, the State will be hitting capacity within our current licensed capacity for ICU/CCU. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “[m]anaged by the Division of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS), Federal Medical Stations are rapidly deployable caches containing beds, supplies, and medicines which can quickly turn a pre-identified building into a temporary medical shelter during a national emergency.”  Typically, an FMS can provide care for between 50-250 people for three days before needing a resupply.  Each FMS “has the ability to increase local healthcare capabilities in mass casualty incidents or potential public health threats. They are flexible, modular, scalable, and tailored to meet the requirements of each incident.” 

New Jersey is in immediate need of four FMS units.  New Jersey has approximately 26,000 licensed hospital beds across the state, which includes 23,687 acute-care beds, 1,183 intensive-care beds, and 700 isolation beds.   To put this in perspective, epidemiological models from Rutgers University show that even “with a high level of social distancing, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Jersey could wind up in the neighborhood of 1.1 million”.   We need immediate assistance from the federal government to prevent our hospital and healthcare system from being overwhelmed. 

We understand the cost of each FMS to be approximately $250,000 per unit, making them an extremely efficient and cost-effective solution to the dire hospital bed shortage facing New Jersey. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

 

###