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Nationwide Ventilator Inventory Underway

August 19, 2009



Letter to all Respiratory Care Department Heads

HHS Letter

Proceed to Survey Site


Dallas, TX—An inventory of all ventilators in the country is underway, as our nation braces for a season that may see more serious cases of the flu than usual.

Respiratory therapists will play a key role in the H1N1 pandemic that may hit the U.S. heavily this fall. Early indicators show that many patients who contract the H1N1 virus require mechanical ventilation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has asked the AARC to help inventory all ventilators in our nation’s hospitals.

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“Our government has placed its trust in the AARC as the one organization with the membership and expertise to accomplish this mission,” said Tim Myers, AARC President. “We have sent a letter to every hospital-based respiratory care department manager in the country asking for help with this project.”

The project is targeted to be completed for HHS by September 10.

“The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the United States Department of Health and Human Services is requesting your assistance to assess the total quantities and types of mechanical ventilators at U.S. hospitals.” said Nicole Lurie, MD, Assistant Secretary, in a letter to the AARC.  “We require additional clarity regarding types and quantities of devices at U.S. hospitals.”

A website has been set up where respiratory care department managers will enter their full inventory of ventilators. A toll-free number is also operational and those completing surveys can call for more information.

“One survey per facility should be completed,” said Tim Buckley, AARC project coordinator. “We ask AARC members to work with their department managers to bring the project to their attention. And we ask the department managers to coordinate one response from their hospital.” The AARC is looking for a high response rate to the survey and for all surveys to be complete by September 10.

You Make a Difference

Think you can’t make a difference in this effort because you’re not in a position to do the survey? You can! Here’s a report we just got from North Carolina. It comes from Ralph Webb, program director at Edgecombe Community College in Rocky Mount, NC.

“I wanted to let you know our senior-level students here at Edgecombe Community College e-mailed or personally phoned each of our adjunct clinical facility department directors last Tuesday afternoon to make them aware of the August 26 (Wednesday) deadline regarding the AARC-NVS. Each student received communication back from each department director and I promptly e-mailed and thanked those directors yesterday.

“To further enhance the AARC’s efforts related to such and the NCSRC’s efforts in enhancing professional development for our students, our state society has taken this a bit further. We have been working on a mentor/mentee project for some time now. We finally have it up and running. Essentially, every RT Program across the state has selected one student as a representative to this program. The selected student is then paired with an active AARC/NCSRC member that serves as their mentor. Each student serving in this capacity will perform the same task (contact adjunct facility department directors) as did our students here at ECC, so you see these efforts will be spread across North Carolina prior to the September 10 deadline.”

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