What Legal Rights Do Healthcare Workers Have?

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By now, there has been countless media coverage about the shortage of Personal Protective Gear for those on the frontlines--meaning nurses, doctors, anyone in healthcare.

And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General put out a survey that had been taken from March 23-27 which featured over 323 hospitals in 49 states. 

The report found that one of the top problems that most hospitals face is the shortage of PPE.

"Hospitals reported that widespread shortages of PPE put staff and patients at risk. Hospitals reported that heavier use of PPE than normal was contributing to the shortage and that the lack of a robust supply chain was delaying or preventing them from restocking PPE needed to protect staff. Hospitals also expressed uncertainty about the availability of PPE from Federal and State sources and noted sharp increases in prices for PPE from some vendors," the report stated.

The report also stated some specific answers that it had gotten from administrators about PPE. 

"Hospitals reported that heavier than normal use of PPE contributed to shortages. The administrator of one hospital stated that before COVID-19, the hospital’s medical center used around 200 masks per day and that it was now using 2,000 per day. Delays in test results led to heavier use of PPE until a patient’s status was confirmed. Another hospital administrator noted the “fear factor” associated with COVID-19, which led to all staff wearing masks instead of only a subset. One hospital administrator reported that some supply distributors limited the quantity of supplies that any one hospital could order, which meant that even with no COVID-19 patients, the hospital was depleting PPE faster than it could restock. Even among hospitals that reported that they currently had enough PPE, some noted that a surge in patients would quickly deplete their supplies," the report continued.

So, with all of this in mind, what rights do healthcare workers have as hospitals around the country experience a shortage in PPE?

Rebecca Rose Woodland, legal analyst, joined TheStreet to weigh in.

Watch the video above for more.

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