Julie Letwat Quoted in The Washington Post on COVID-19 Ventilator Shortage

March 18, 2020

The Washington Post quoted McGuireWoods counsel Julie Letwat in a March 18, 2020, story on why hospitals are holding back on ordering more medical ventilators despite an anticipated need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ventilators could be critical to U.S. efforts to contain the worst effects of the pandemic, the Post reported. Letwat, a Chicago-based healthcare lawyer and member of the firm’s COVID-19 Response Team, said ventilator manufacturers could significantly boost production within a few months. But orders have not been pouring in because hospitals cannot afford to considerably increase inventory without knowing the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, she explained.

“The risk is that they’ll never be used, and hospitals can’t eat the cost,'' Letwat said. “Most hospitals in this country are not profitable.”

Letwat said federal government investment would be the surest way to increase supply.

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