Health Leaders in N.C. House Say State Funds Should be Spent on Personal Protective Equipment and Testing

Raleigh, N.C. – Healthcare leaders in the state House of Representatives on Thursday called for state budget funds to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing to help medical professionals serve patients in North Carolina during the novel Coronavirus pandemic. 

Rep. Perrin Jones, MD (R-Pitt), an anesthesiologist from Greenville, N.C., and Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), a former hospital executive and Senior House Appropriations Committee Co-Chair from Winston-Salem, said on Thursday during the Health Care Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 that funds for PPE and testing of health care professionals should be a state budget priority. 
“State funding for PPE and COVID-19 tests, supplied directly to healthcare facilities for those needs, must be a priority budget investment to help the medical community, patients, government leaders, and taxpayers, start managing COVID-19 together instead of it managing us,” Rep. Jones and Lambeth said in a joint statement Thursday. 
“To keep our vital medical professionals serving patients in need across North Carolina, state support is critical to increase their supplies for testing and protective equipment.”
In recent weeks, the health care working group has heard from front line health care workers battling the coronavirus. Many have stated that more PPE and testing capacity is needed for the state and health care professionals to effectively respond to the pandemic.
“We are hearing that health care workers have critical needs to continue their fight against the coronavirus,” Reps. Jones and Lambeth said Thursday. “We are responding to help them in their efforts
Working groups of the state House Select Committee on COVID-19 continued developing policy and budget proposals this week for a legislative package supporting North Carolinians through the pandemic.
The lawmakers noted that if healthcare workers become sick, the threshold is lowered for a patient surge to overrun healthcare systems.
State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) signaled support for the proposals Thursday, saying he had spoken directly with healthcare providers advocating for the same priorities. 
“Our healthcare workforce has stepped up above and beyond the call of duty in a time of great peril for North Carolina and the nation,” Speaker Moore said Thursday. “We will protect them on behalf of the patients they serve and the very future of this state that they are fighting for.”