HHS Found a Supply Shortage. 'It's Wrong,' Trump Says

Problems build on each other at hospitals, inspector general reports
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2020 7:35 PM CDT
Trump Says Report on Shortage of Hospital Supplies Is 'Wrong'
President Trump speaks Monday in the White House as Vice President Mike Pence listens.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The nonpartisan inspector general's office in the Department of Health and Human Services called 323 hospitals to see if they have enough supplies to care for their COVID-19 patients. They don't, says the report, which lists severe shortages. Asked about the report in his press briefing Monday, President Trump said, "It's wrong." The report, released Monday, said some hospitals are so short of protective masks that they are searching auto-body shops and nail salons, the Washington Post reports. The problems start with a lack of tests, per the AP. They're compounded by the slow turnaround on test results, lack of protective gear, scarcity of breathing machines and weary staffs worried about their safety.

"These challenges play off each other and exacerbate the situation," an assistant inspector general said. "There's a cascade effect." Trump wasn't buying it. "Give me the name of the inspector general," he said to a reporter. "Could politics be entered into that?" Christi A. Grimm, a career government official, is the acting HHS inspector general. Trump dismissed the report by saying that she'd served under President Obama, though she began working in the office in 1999. The survey, conducted March 23-27, involved hospitals across the country. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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