Rep. Grijalva Sends Letter to FEMA, CDC, and HHS Secretary, Calls for More Field and Response Teams to Fill Critical Staff Shortages in Arizona Hospitals

January 5, 2021
Press Release

TUCSON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting the immediate coordination and deployment of field and response teams to Arizona to fill critical care staff shortages in Arizona hospitals as the COVID-19 pandemic brings them to the brink of crisis.

“In Arizona, over 93% of inpatient and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds are in use statewide,” wrote Rep. Grijalva. “Many hospitals are reporting zero ICU availability, excessive emergency room wait times, and are struggling to find hospitals to fulfill their surge transfer patient requests. Transfers, especially to and from remote areas in Arizona, are logistically difficult.  The physical, mental, and emotional toll on our health providers, working with little reprieve, is not sustainable.”

“Arizona hospitals report having the physical space and equipment needed to increase desperately needed inpatient beds, however severe staffing shortages are preventing them from taking this step to save lives,” continued Rep. Grijalva. “Hospitals are competing with other hospitals and states to secure traveling nurses and health staff, resulting in lack of availability and price gouging. It is vital that we work together as a nation to save lives—not leave states pitted against each other in a fight for vital resources.”

Click here to read the full letter.