By Mike Polaski, Executive Director, Supply Chain Management, OC Reilly Inc.
(Dec. 14, 2020)–As cases of COVID-19 soar across the U.S., hospitals have faced peak patient admission and associated staffing issues. Primary among those issues is adequately ordering, receiving, inspecting, stocking, and tracing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gowns, face masks and shields, gloves, cleaning products, and more – all needed to keep frontline medical personnel as safe as possible from contracting the virus from patients.
Health systems have been diligent about ordering sufficient PPE from their suppliers, but once the shipments arrive at a facility, certain cautions must be taken. One issue that began occurring early in the pandemic included hoarding and theft of PPE. Beyond the illegal and unethical nature of such acts, the deeper problem became not having sufficient protection for medical staff who deserved and expected that equipment to be ready when needed.
To help manage PPE delivered onsite, several processes have been identified and recommended by OC Reilly teams to their health care system customers, including:
- Reducing carrying levels with some PPE supplies at the point of use.
- Collecting and redistributing excessive inventory as appropriate.
- Completely removing some supplies in certain cases, i.e., removing all N95 masks from all departments and centralizing the supply in a secure location. This limits the potential for hoarding and enables a more controlled distribution to authorized areas only.
- Developing a review and approval process for certain PPE items, and executing the plan consistently.
The professionals at OC Reilly can quickly and remotely provide guidance in developing and auditing a process for PPE inventory. Contact us today at 412-325-6210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.