WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today spoke with members of the West Virginia Hospital Association (WVHA) to provide an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and hear directly from health care professionals about their needs to tackle this pandemic.
“The medical professionals on the front lines of this coronavirus outbreak are doing their best, but they need additional resources and they need them now,”Senator Capito said. “I’ve been committed to helping West Virginia hospitals and health care workers during this pandemic, particularly when it comes to providing more personal protective equipment (PPE) and cutting red tape to allow for more flexibility for hospital bed use. I am in awe of the incredible work our hospitals are doing now, and I am committed to making sure they have the resources and supplies they need very soon. I’ll continue working in the Senate until we get a package done.”
“We appreciate the work Senator Capito has always done on behalf of our hospitals, especially now as we navigate through the many challenges involving COVID-19,” Joe Letnaunchyn, President and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association, said. “I’m always encouraged by her leadership, and especially today with her candid comments and answers to our members' questions. Our hospitals are very anxious for Congress to come to a deal that provides needed relief to protect our health care heroes who are on the front lines with their patients, today and every day.”
Senator Capito is committed to ensuring all West Virginians are heard during this uncertain time. Earlier today, Senator Capito spoke with the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Yesterday, Senator Capito spoke with members of the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (WVHTA).
Senator Capito launched a page on her website to help bring current and accurate information to West Virginians during the COVID-19 pandemic. ClickHERE to access the webpage for the latest updates and resources.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. Click HERE to read Senator Capito’s statement on this announcement, and keep scrolling to learn more about Senator Capito’s efforts to stay on top of this issue.
BACKGROUND ON SENATOR CAPITO’S CORONAVIRUS EFFORTS:
Senator Capito continues to be focused on this issue, particularly in ensuring the appropriate agencies have the funding they need to mitigate the spread of the virus, test those feeling ill, and treat those infected.
Senator Capito has been in touch with the White House directly to express the need for more testing kits and additional flexibility for West Virginia’s hospital as the situation continues to evolve. She also spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III Administration Mary Ann Tierney about the need for more supplies for health care workers in West Virginia.
As chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Capito has made a point to ask the agencies she funds if they are prepared and ready to combat the coronavirus. Below are more details on Senator Capito’s efforts:
· Met with a number of officials, including:
o Vice President Mike Pence, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (WVDHHS) Commissioner and State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp, members of the Coronavirus Taskforce, and others on the issue.
· Communicated with West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Secretary Bill Crouch about the state’s testing issues.
· Spoke with West Virginia Hospital Association President and CEO Joe Letnaunchyn and West Virginia Health Care Association CEO Marty Wright.
· Voted in favor of the emergency supplemental funding package to help states treat, prevent, and prepare for the Coronavirus. A portion of the funding provided for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is specifically tied to the FY2019 Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) grant awards for states and localities. In West Virginia, this means the state will receive at least $5 million in funding.
· Voted for a second relief package. Click here for more details.
· Attended a senators-only Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee briefing to ask questions directly of leadership from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
· Spoken with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice regularly about West Virginia’s preparedness and readiness.
· Asked various government officials about the role of the aviation industryin containing the spread of the disease.
· During two Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee hearings:
o Questioned Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske about TSA’s coordinating efforts with health agencies.
o Asked Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf about the department’s efforts to monitor and control the coronavirus.
Click here for more information on the coronavirus.