Letter to the American Hospital Association: Stop Muzzling Frontline Healthcare Workers

Below is a letter sent to the American Hospital Association urging them to publicly denounce any such efforts to muzzle health care professionals and call on its member hospitals and health care systems to encourage their doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to speak freely about coronavirus patient caseloads, dwindling hospital supplies, and any other challenges that should be immediately addressed. 

Click here to download the letter as a printable PDF.

 

Richard J. Pollack
President and Chief Executive Officer American Hospital Association 
800 10th Street, N.W.
Two CityCenter, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20001-4956 
Delivered by email to rick@aha.org 

Dear Mr. Pollack: 

We were appalled to read recent media reports about hospital administrators across the U.S. muzzling doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals with threats of disciplinary action for speaking out about coronavirus patient caseloads and dwindling hospital supplies needed to care for such patients.(1) 

It is critical that the public and local, state, and federal government officials fully comprehend the scope of shortages of personal protective equipment, mechanical ventilators, intensive care unit beds, and other medical supplies so that appropriate steps can be taken to mitigate shortages of these essential medical resources, appropriately and fairly allocate limited resources, and thus protect the safety and welfare of health care workers and patients alike. 

Attempts to cover up these shortages by muzzling health care workers who are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are reprehensible and reckless and endanger public health. Although such actions may be commonplace in countries with authoritarian regimes, they are not acceptable in the U.S. 

The undersigned consumer advocacy, workers’ rights, science, research, public health, civil rights, human rights, and grassroots political organizations, labor unions, and individuals therefore demand that the American Hospital Association publicly denounce any such efforts to muzzle health care professionals and call on its member hospitals and health care systems to encourage their doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to speak freely about coronavirus patient caseloads, dwindling hospital supplies, and any other challenges that should be immediately addressed. 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent public health matter. Please contact Dr. Michael Carome, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, at mcarome@citizen.org with your response. 

Sincerely, 

Alliance for Retired Americans 
American Civil Liberties Union 
American Federation of Teachers 
American Medical Student Association 
American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) 
BlueGreen Alliance 
Business for Medicare for All 
Center for Reproductive Rights 
Communications Workers of America 
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces 
Consumer Action 
Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute 
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund 
Doctors for America 
Equality North Carolina 
Glenn Paulson, Ph.D., BCES, Sc.D. (Hon.), Retired Professor, George Washington University, 
Milken Institute School of Public Health 
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of 
America, (UAW) 
IUE-CWA 
Justice at Work 
Knowledge Ecology International 
Labor of Love Safety Training and Consulting (Diane Matthew Brown, CIT) 
Martin S. Kanovsky, M.D., FACP, FACC, FASNC, FASE 
Mary E Miller, R.N., M.N., Occupational Health Nurse 
MassCOSH 
Medicare for All Now 
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) 
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd 
National Center for Health Research 
National Center for Healthy Housing 
National Center for Transgender Equality 
National Employment Law Project 
National Health Care for the Homeless Council 
National Nurses United 
National Partnership for Women & Families 
National Women’s Law Center 
National Women's Health Network 
New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy 
People's Action 
PhilaPOSH 
Physicians for Reproductive Health 
Progress America 
Progressive Democrats of America 
Progressive Doctors 
Public Advocacy for Kids 
Public Citizen 
Public Justice Center 
Right Care Alliance 
SafeWork Washington 
San Francisco AIDS Foundation 
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 
Social Security Works 
The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers 
United Steelworkers 
Universal Health Care Action Network 
V. Ram Krishnamoorthi, M.D., M.P.H., Chicago, Illinois 
Virginia Organizing 
Western New York Council on Occupational Safety & Health 

(1) See https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927541 and https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927528.

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