On March 27, 2020, SEIU signed on to the letter below addressed to Richard J. Pollack, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association…

Dear Mr. Pollack:

We were appalled to read recent media reports about hospital administrators across the U.S. muzzling doctors, nurses and other health care professionals with threats of disciplinary action for speaking out about coronavirus patient caseloads and dwindling hospital supplies needed to care for such patients.

It is critical that the public and local, state and federal government officials fully comprehend the scope of shortages of personal protective equipment, mechanical ventilators, intensive care unit beds, and other medical supplies so that appropriate steps can be taken to mitigate shortages of these essential medical resources, appropriately and fairly allocate limited resources, and thus protect the safety and welfare of health care workers and patients alike.

Attempts to cover up these shortages by muzzling health care workers who are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are reprehensible and reckless and endanger public health. While such actions may be commonplace in countries with authoritarian regimes, they are not acceptable in the U.S.

The undersigned consumer advocacy, workers’ rights, science, research, and public health organizations therefore demand that the American Hospital Association publicly denounce any such efforts to muzzle health care professionals and call on its member hospitals and health care systems to encourage their doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to speak freely about coronavirus patient caseloads, dwindling hospital supplies, and any other challenges that should be immediately addressed.  

Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent public health matter.