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SCCM-ASA Joint Statement to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

Issued March 23, 2020



SCCM-ASA Joint Statement to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) announce their plans to collaborate to address the COVID-19 crisis. This collaboration was discussed on a March 20, 2020, conference call among ASA President Mary Dale Peterson, MD, FASA; SCCM President Lewis J. Kaplan, MD, FACS, FCCP, FCCM; ASA CEO Paul Pomerantz; and SCCM CEO David J. Martin. SCCM leadership recognizes the foundation of training and experience that anesthesiologists have in critical care and their ability to quickly supplement the nation’s critical care physician workforce.

Key elements of our collaboration are:

  • Rapid development of focused training for anesthesiologists. We have created a joint work group consisting of representation from ASA’s Committee on Critical Care Medicine, SCCM’s Anesthesiology Section, and the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists.
  • Expansion of critical care capacity by conversion of anesthesia machines to ventilators. This will include development and communication of technical requirements and training resources as well as outreach to manufacturers. These activities will be carried out by the joint work group and supported by equipment experts from ASA and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation.
  • Development of training resources for respiratory therapists.
  • Initiative to identify anesthesia machine capacity outside the hospital setting that can be converted to increase ventilator capacity. This includes ambulatory surgery centers, research facilities, and veterinary facilities.
  • Addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment through coordination of guidance to members and advocacy organizations for adequate supplies.

Finally, the leaders agreed to communicate the outcome of the March 20, 2020, meeting to their respective members and to maintain regular communication throughout the COVID-19 crisis.