Association News

HASC, Health Plans Work to Prevent Future PPE Shortages

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, the U.S. suffered a severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Health care workers often lacked the basics: gloves, medical masks, N95 respirators and gowns. The shortage, amid an already lethal pandemic, caused many more deaths that could otherwise have been prevented.

In August 2020, L.A. Care Health Plan, Inland Empire Health Plan and HASC partnered with business leaders to form the Southern California PPE Consortium. The goal: to develop a plan to ensure the region is well prepared for future health crises.

“Before the pandemic, most people had probably never heard of the acronym PPE,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care chief executive officer. “But then we started hearing about hospital nurses having to wear medical masks and gowns for days at a time — and respirators if they were lucky enough to find any. We knew we had to act so Southern California providers and residents wouldn’t suffer due to disrupted supply chains.”

The Southern California PPE Consortium selected manufacturer Dell Corning, a highly qualified medical supply vendor , to provide quality, competitively priced PPE supplies to Southern California counties.

“Purchasing through the PPE Consortium is an important step that health providers can take to prevent delays, shortages, and price gouging in future emergencies,” said George W. Greene, president and CEO of HASC. “By so doing, Southern California hospitals and other providers can maintain ongoing access to quality PPE at reasonable prices and ensure they’re well stocked for the next pandemic or crisis.”

While initial orders will be used for everyday needs by hospitals and other providers, the consortium ultimately aims to create a local PPE stockpile and to bring local manufacturing to the region. Once the ordering volume reaches a sustainable level, Dell Corning will produce the PPE locally and maintain a stockpile to support the region in future health care crises.

Ten Southern California counties will participate in the consortium: Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Imperial. Providers in these counties who choose to participate will sign letters of agreement with Dell Corning, with prices guaranteed for three years.

HASC encourages our hospital members to join the PPE Consortium and help our region stand ready for the next emergency. For more details, please visit the program web page.

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