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ACOG Urges Action on Testing and PPE for Labor and Delivery

ACOG is committed to supporting our members on the front lines as you save lives and care for your patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that access to accurate testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical for obstetrician–gynecologists to keep you and your patients safe in your offices, surgical suites, and on labor and delivery. Our position is clear: obstetrician–gynecologists need access to testing. Obstetrician-gynecologists also need access to PPE, including N95 masks, at any point of contact in caring for a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, including in labor and delivery. 

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ACOG is engaging with senior administration officials and Congress to push for increased testing and production of PPE. We’ve established regular calls with White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx, MD to advocate for testing and PPE for our members. Our efforts also include calling on Congress to make sure that current and future stimulus packages include resources that meet your needs; keeping in contact with the CDC; working to ensure clear guidance for obstetric care physicians’ needs around PPE; and working with Congress, the Surgeon General, Ambassador Birx, state leaders, and other partners to urge that labor and delivery considered a high-risk area in need of rapid-response diagnostic testing. 

On local levels, we’re also sending information to hospital systems to let them know that obstetrician–gynecologists and all health care workers should have access to PPE and that in the case of a shortage facilities should take any measures possible to ensure your protection.

We know that the ability to speak up about your safety without fear of retaliation is critical in this time. That’s why we joined 44 other specialty societies in issuing a statement urging adequate supply and distribution of PPE, supporting the use of PPE as necessary, highlighting the need for a uniform method of reporting PPE shortages, and opposing threats of retaliation. The Department of Labor responded to our concerns by releasing a statement reminding employers that they cannot retaliate against employees for reporting unsafe conditions. 
 
We know that our advocacy is only one tool you need. You also need clear guidance and resources to help you navigate COVID-19. Our COVID-19 topic page has up-to-date information to support you, including a practice advisory and a physician FAQ that specifically addresses PPE.

Please check back on our website often as we continue to work to provide answers to your urgent questions and revise guidance as new information and data become available. We’re also emailing members our weekly newsletter, ACOG Rounds, every Friday to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information delivered straight to your inbox. 
 
ACOG is an organization led, driven, and inspired by our members, who work tirelessly every day to serve their patients, advance their own knowledge, and better our profession. We’re inspired by the work our members have done during the COVID-19 pandemic and are listening in order to better understand the pain points you’re experiencing and how we can best support you. Please email us at covid@acog.org and let us know if there are additional ways in which we can help.