Medical providers knew 

pandemic was coming

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Politicians and medical providers complain about shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and gear such as ventilators to address COVID-19 demands. A recent Times-Dispatch story described private ambulance services lacking PPE.

Fingers have been pointed at state and federal government agencies, though it's not the feds' responsibility to provide PPE. The media have lapped up these nonsensical accusations instead of looking for the real reasons for shortages.

Medical providers and related professionals had to know the next pandemic or calamity was a matter of when — not if. Hospitals, nursing homes and ambulance services should have kept stockpiles all along. Why wasn't this done?

Here's a clue: The private ambulance service in the story undoubtedly charges thousands of dollars for an advanced life support ride of a few miles to the hospital. Most of that has to be profit. Likewise, nursing homes charge $100,000 a year to warehouse an elderly person, an amazingly high cost when most staffers earn minimum wage and only one nurse might be on duty.

Hospitals charge $100 for an aspirin and $10,000 per day for a room. A surgery of a few hours can cost more than $100,000. Some of these charges are negotiated with insurance companies, but those left can still be quite high.

The money was there. It simply wasn't used to pay for PPE and gear for the rainy day that was certain to arrive. Instead, most of that profit went into executives' or shareholders' pockets. Why aren't any fingers pointing at them in this crisis?

Edwin Kramptiz Jr.

Hopewell.

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