Advocacy Update Special Report

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July 31, 2020

CAP Meets with White House Task Force to Fix COVID-19 Supply Shortages

With supply shortages for COVID-19 tests persistent throughout the pandemic, CAP leaders spoke with the White House Testing Task Force, the American Medical Association, and other laboratory industry officials regarding current supply inventories and different avenues to increase supplies.

CAP President Patrick Godbey, MD, FCAP, and Council on Government and Professional Affairs Chair Jonathan Myles, MD, FCAP, represented the CAP during a productive discussion with administrative officials during the July 30 meeting. Through surveys of its accredited laboratories, CAP has collected data showing testing supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic have been all too common. The CAP has advocated for the government to address supply issues for COVID-19 tests so pathologists and the laboratories they lead can operate at capacity.

During the meeting, officials noted that they are working with manufacturers to increase supplies through a multiprong approach, such as bringing overseas production back to the United States and adding new production sources. The White House task force has considered using existing statute, such as the Defense Production Act, to increase supply inventories but the act would not be applicable to those supplies produced overseas. At the same time, the task force does have some supply reserve and is able to send to “hot spots” around the country by request from the state diagnostic testing contact.

Earlier this month, the CAP, American Association of Bioanalysts, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, American Medical Technologists, the American Society for Microbiology, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Association for Molecular Pathology, and the National Independent Laboratory Association received a copy of a spreadsheet with names of diagnostic contacts. Officials asked that the document to not be shared publicly. CAP members can access the contacts by using your CAP member log-in.

Officials acknowledged supply shortages could be further exacerbated by an increased demand for testing and a strategy should be used to determine testing needs. An official mentioned pool testing and the increase in point-of-care testing devices could mitigate the increased demand.

The CAP will continue to keep its members informed of its efforts to resolve testing supply problems. New information will be published in Advocacy Update and the CAP’s Advocacy Twitter account.