Regional Recovery Task Force Releases Report Following Discussion with Former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt and Dr. David Relman

May 12, 2020
Press Release

Parsippany, NJ -- The Regional Recovery Task Force held their second meeting focused on scaling capacity for testing and support for healthcare workers and long-term care facilities. The Members heard from Dr. David Relman, Professor of Medicine and of Immunology and Microbiology at Stanford University, and a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases. Members also heard from Mr. Andy Slavitt, the former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Founder and Board Chair of United States of Care, as well as a senior advisor to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“Over the last two weeks, our expert speakers have emphasized the importance of scaling our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in order to safely reopen the economy,” said Rep. Sherrill. “Our group wants to see strong federal leadership that will help our communities, particularly in the Northeast, with those efforts.”

“These Task Force speakers have reinforced our belief that the Northeast region must address the pandemic with a coordinated effort and that effort must be aggressively supported by the federal government,” said Rep. King.

"We need to increase our testing capacities immediately,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “Ideally, we would ramp up domestic production. When we have more tests, we need an equitable distribution and deployment plan that focuses on severity of need without regard to race or wealth. While we are ramping up testing kit and vaccine production, we need to build a strong data system, that allows us to test the population regularly and have a standard way to collect, manage, and analyze data to leverage contact tracing efficiently."

The Regional Recovery Task Force highlighted key opportunities for congressional action:

  • Congress can support strong leadership by the federal government to scale testing capacity by establishing standards for manufacturers; identifying opportunities for generic testing supplies; and addressing latent testing capacity;
  • Congress can provide resources to support the mental health of healthcare workers to ensure the health and safety of this essential workforce;
  • Congress can provide support for nursing homes and long-term care facilities to improve infection control

Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Pete King (R-NY) formed the Regional Recovery Task Force with Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jim Himes (D-CT), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). The task force is working with leading experts across key fields to put forth bipartisan recommendations and policy proposals for near- and medium-term efforts to get Americans back to work, and address critical questions facing the United States in the coming weeks and months, particularly in the Northeast.

The Regional Recovery Task Force’s second report can be found here.