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Blog COVID-19 in Maryland Health Care

Kopp Joins Nationwide Treasurers’ Calls for Easy Access to Ventilator Repairs

Maryland State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D) has added her name to a letter organized by Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella (D) calling on ventilator manufacturers to release proprietary repair manuals, service keys, schematics and repair software to hospitals and other medical facilities.

The letter from state treasurers points out that the COVID-19 public health crisis has made it difficult for manufacturer-authorized technicians to service ventilators, so manufacturers must work to empower technicians already in the hospitals.

The American Hospital Association estimates 960,000 Americans will need ventilators over the course of the pandemic, but there are just approximately 170,000 ventilators in the country — some of which need repairs to become operational.

However, many manufacturers do not provide access to repair documentation, limiting who can fix the equipment. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, for third-party medical repair companies or in-house medical engineers from trying to fix things.

“During this public health crisis, we need to utilize any and all available resources,” Kopp said in a statement. “Ventilators should not go unused solely because hospitals aren’t able to make the necessary repairs.

Several organizations have delivered 43,000-plus signatures supporting the right to repair to 25 different ventilator manufacturers.

“We need to make it easy for hospital technicians to fix ventilators, no exceptions,” said Emily Scarr, director of Maryland PIRG, one of the organizations that has organized the petition campaign. “We should immediately take action to get anyone who is fixing ventilators what they need.”

Maryland PIRG’s parent organization, U.S. PIRG, is also calling on the Trump administration to double the ventilator supply and invoke the Defense Production Act to ramp up manufacturing.

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Kopp Joins Nationwide Treasurers’ Calls for Easy Access to Ventilator Repairs