Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the event state and local supplies are depleted and commercial supplies are unavailable to support response needs, states, territories, tribal nations, and the largest metropolitan areas may request federal assistance from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). This includes requests for supplemental supplies and durable assets such as personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, medical countermeasures (MCM), and Federal Medical Stations (FMS).
Regional Emergency Coordinators (RECs) assigned to each of the HHS regions throughout the country should work directly with the public health authorities to determine PPE, ventilator, MCM and FMS needs and assist with those requests. For areas of intense COVID-19 transmission, the REC may submit a request from the region to the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center (SOC) for additional supplies. This SOC coordination is important to manage simultaneous requests from the regions for supplies.
The SOC, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and SNS, will identify the most effective method for obtaining the needed supplies from the medical supply chain or from federal stockpiles. When supplies are deployed, the public health authority is then responsible for distributing the medical materials to areas in need based on established distribution plans. Any SNS durable assets received by the state, territory, tribal nation, or locality will require a transfer of title for SNS assets to be signed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the memorandum of agreement executed between SNS and the public health authority.
Tribes may request assets from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) in the following two ways:
- A tribe may contact a state health office to request personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in a hospital or clinic setting only when all other supplies are nearly exhausted. It is the state’s responsibility to include tribal requests in the state’s request to the HHS Secretary’s Operations Command (SOC). It is also the state’s responsibility to ensure that the resources are distributed to the tribe after it is received.
- Recognizing the sovereign status of tribal nations and the direct government-to-government relationship with tribes, those that are close to exhausting their supply of PPE for hospitals or clinics may contact their Indian Health Services (IHS) emergency management point of contact who will then prioritize the request to headquarters. IHS headquarters will then make the request to the SOC and keep track of when requests are fulfilled.
It is extremely important to remember that access to the SNS is limited to those PPE requests that are for healthcare purposes only and it must be demonstrated that the tribe has a limited supply. If a tribe has a request for PPE or other equipment and supplies that is not healthcare related, such as a request to support law enforcement, tribal officials should contact FEMA Tribal Affairs.
For further questions or information about the Strategic National Stockpile, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org