Given the scarcity of the ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), the federal government has adopted the following process to manage federal ventilator resources to ensure the ventilators and related supplies are shipped to locations in the amount needed to manage the immediate crisis. In the case of ventilators, immediate is defined as requirements necessary to sustain life within a 72-hour window.
To submit a request, the facility will work with its state agency to connect with FEMA/HHS regional leadership. For a request to be processed, the facility and jurisdiction must provide detailed responses to the following five questions:
- How many usable ventilators, ICU beds, and convertible ventilators are currently available within the facility, state or tribe?
- What is the current hospital bed and ICU bed occupancy rate in the facility, state, or tribe?
- How many new ICU beds does the facility, state or tribe estimate it can stand-up and the number of ventilators, or FDA-approved ventilator alternatives, it can or is standing up?
- What is the decompression ability of hospitals in the state or tribe (i.e.: are there currently field hospitals or alternate care facilities established)?
- How many anesthesia machines are in the facility, state or tribe and have they been converted?
Once the requesting facility or jurisdiction provides the FEMA/HHS Region with the answers to these five questions, then the requirement is validated at the Regional level and forwarded to FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) for processing.
In addition to submitting requests through this process, facility leaders and jurisdiction officials are encouraged to share the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Ventilators issued on March 24. The EUA allows anesthesia gas machines and positive pressure breathing devices to be modified for use as ventilators. The EUA also provides guidance to assist health care personnel on use of other ventilators like CPAP devices for sleep apnea, with COVID-19 patients in respiratory distress, as well as on shelf life of existing ventilators.