HHS: Ventilator stockpile is full

HHS: Ventilator stockpile is full
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is tossing some of their remaining contracts for ventilators because the national stockpile is now full, agency officials told The Hill.

The administration awarded $3 billion in emergency contracts in the spring as the coronavirus pandemic began to surge in the U.S.

“By terminating the remainder of deliveries from these contracts, HHS is balancing federal stockpile requirements with commercial market demand for ventilators,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement. “As a result, HHS is saving the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars by halting delivery of additional ventilators that are no longer required.”

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HHS did not specify what the terms of the cancelation were or if there were any penalties.

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Monday that they are investigating the White House over contract negotiations after Philips Respironics said that the federal government canceled its $646 million contract.

According to a report the committee produced in July, the government was paying $15,000 per ventilator produced by Philips Respironics. 

Phillips spokesperson Steve Klink told The Hill that the company was not given a “formal reason” for the cancellation.

“We do not know the formal reason yet. Unlike typically in the private sector, the US government does not need any reason to terminate an agreement,” Klink said. 

HHS told The Hill that it would also be canceling contracts with Hamilton Medical and Vyaire Medical, which were set to produce 38,000 ventilators that would’ve been scheduled for delivery to the National Strategic Stockpile by the end of 2020.