Amid coronavirus wave, some healthcare facilities stock protective gear while others struggle to find it



By Lauren Weber

Nursing homes, small doctor’s offices and rural clinics are being left behind in the rush for N95 masks and other protective gear, exposing some of the country’s most vulnerable populations and their caregivers to COVID-19 as larger and richer health facilities are stockpiling equipment.

Take Rhonda Bergeron, who has three health clinics in rural South Louisiana. She said she was in desperate need of personal protective equipment since her clinics became COVID testing sites. Her fate did not impress domestic suppliers puzzled by her lack of purchase history when she requested 500 dresses. And one supply company only allows it one box of 200 gloves per 30 days for its three clinics. At the moment, she does not have big gloves on the spot.

“So in the midst of shutting down the whole world, you can’t get PPE to cover your own employees,” she said. “They’re reloading stuff for big business when the reality is we’re really on the front lines here.”

More than eight months after the start of the pandemic, healthcare leaders are again calling for a coordinated national strategy to distribute personal protective equipment to protect healthcare workers and their patients as a new wave of diseases are breaking out in most of the country. The demand for such equipment, especially in hot spots, can be more than 10 times greater than pre-pandemic levels. As supply chains have adjusted and the availability of PPE has improved dramatically since the chaos of spring, factories and limited amounts of raw materials are still limiting supply amid the current strong demand.

In this rush for the free market, big hospitals and other vendors are stockpiling what they can even while others are struggling. Some facilities are picking up supplies to prepare for a dreaded wave of COVID-19 hospitalizations; others follow new storage laws and ordinances in states such as California, New York and Connecticut.

“They are putting additional pressure on what is still a fragile hospital supply chain,” said Soumi Saha, vice president of advocacy for Premier Inc., a group purchasing organization that provides supplies to more than 4,000. American hospitals and health systems of various sizes. “We want the available product to go to frontline healthcare workers, not a warehouse at this time.”

More than a quarter of nursing homes nationwide reported a shortage of items such as masks, gloves or N95 gowns from August 24 to September 20. A recent American Medical Association survey found that 36% of physician offices reported having difficulty securing PPE. And about 90% of the nonprofit Get Us PPE’s recent requests for help with protective gear are from non-hospital settings, such as nursing homes, group homes, and homeless shelters.

“I can totally understand that large healthcare systems don’t want to run out of PPE,” said Dr Ali Raja, co-founder of Get Us PPE and executive vice president of emergency medicine. at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Smaller places just can’t store, but they also can’t get enough for their daily use. “

Since the start of the pandemic, the fight for PPE has focused on who has had the most money and connections to carry supplies from China, providers of soft talk, or hire people who could spend their time at look for PPE. At various times, adequately stocked hospitals shared their wealth, as did California, which sent millions of masks to Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska this summer.

But the fight for PPE becomes even more difficult as states, like California, meet storage requirements, Saha said. The Prime Minister has called on California Governor Gavin Newsom to veto a bill that requires hospitals, from April, to have stocks of PPE worth three months, or risk being lost. $ 25,000 fine. However, Newsom promulgated the bill in September and Saha is concerned that it will become a model law for other states.

For an average hospital, a 90-day supply equates to $ 2 million of equipment filling about 14 trucks, said Chaun Powell, Premier Group vice president for strategic supplier engagement, roughly a football field. and a half warehouse.

Traditional supply chains were ill-equipped to cope with the onslaught of demand caused by the pandemic, which led to the frantic search for PPE. When distributors face such shortages, they rely on orders placed to assign who gets what share of their existing products, so that no single buyer buys everything. Nursing homes and clinics have never used so much protective gear in the past, so they have no order history and are placed at the back of the pack. This has forced many of them to rely on substandard masks like KN95s and other workarounds, Saha said.

PPE shortages put facility workers and patients at risk, while limiting their ability to treat their communities. At least 1,300 U.S. healthcare workers have died from COVID-19.

In Kirksville, a college town in northern Missouri, Twin Pines Adult Care Center administrator Jim Richardson said his nursing home was running out of gowns. It also reuses N95s after staff members treat them with UV rays. Although the leading medical supplier Medline Industries sometimes provided him with additional products, he still had to turn to eBay.

“I am a small facility and am bidding for nationwide Life Care,” he said. “Guess who Medline is going to take care of?

COVID-19 cases are increasing in Kirksville after students return to campus, Richardson said. Visitors begin to return to the nursing home and the flu season begins.

Dr Michael Wasserman, outgoing president of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine, said the lack of supplies for small providers like nursing homes is a testament to the country’s priorities for care of the elderly.

“We are here in October, and the fact that there isn’t an abundance of PPE for every nursing home in the country is a literal abomination,” he said. “Without PPE, you lose to this virus. “

Stuart Almer, president and CEO of the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, managed to retrieve the 60-day inventory required by New York state law for his Long Island facility, but it came at a cost. And he fears that as long as the hot spots and inventory persist, massive price swings and delivery issues will continue.

He learned early on that no one would come and save him. Even the deliveries from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which he appreciated, were too small and not always easy to use. The heavy long dresses he provided had to be cut.

“Really, we are alone,” he said.

American Medical Association president Dr Susan Bailey said in an emailed statement that federal officials must step in: “We urge the administration to pull all the levers to increase PPE production – for masks, gowns and N95 test supplies – and coordinate distribution. “

Get Us PPE Raja called for a fairer, robust, centralized and transparent allocation process that does not rely on donations to fill in the gaps. What good is it for a community to have hospital stock, he asked, when the nursing home down the street has no PPE?

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy information service. This is an independent editorial program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


Previous New Subic Company to Produce Face Masks and Protective Gear
Next Payday loan customers will only get 1% compensation from defaulting lender Sunny

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.