Friday, May 1, 2020

Unsung Heroes During The COVID-19 Crisis

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put a major strain on every hospital’s supply chain and I realized that I have taken the GBMC supply chain for granted. A well-functioning materials management system is a prerequisite in caring for patients. Every day, we need medications and other medical and surgical equipment like masks (N95, ear loop procedure, surgical tie, and others), isolation and surgical gowns, PAPR disposable head covers, and face shields – to name just some of our supplies.

Our system team, led by Brian Riemer, Director of Supply Chain, has always worked closely with suppliers to secure materials and with our logistics partners to manage and mitigate any potential disruption to the delivery of supplies. This work has become much more difficult during the COVID-19 crisis. Because of the team’s excellent work, our clinicians have had what they need to care for our patients. Here are some examples of their work:

Supply Chain – COVID-19 Highlights

The Supply Chain team manages 383 different items that are in very high demand and have inventory shortages. Some of these high-use items are either out-of-stock or have allocations of 30% or less than our normal usage. Each of these items requires the Supply Chain team to search for alternative products or sources. In addition to the shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfecting wipes have become very difficult to obtain. The team has worked with Infection Prevention and other clinical teams to identify eight different alternatives to our standard disinfecting wipe.

The Supply Chain team explored and vetted 164 alternate source vendors to provide PPE. These are not normal suppliers to the healthcare industry. This vetting process is necessary to avoid scams and determine who can deliver high-quality products in a timely manner. It involves investigating FDA registrations for overseas factories and validating documentation for importing medical products to ensure that counterfeit or substandard products are not brought in for use by our clinical teams.

The Supply Chain department purchased materials for and coordinated the assembly of 15,000 face shields. It was a huge effort with team members enlisting the help of their families to prepare the materials prior to assembly. This included cutting elastic and foam pieces to length in their homes! The Alternate Labor Pool was then used to assemble the face shields.

The team used local distilleries to source more than 300 gallons of hand sanitizer to supplement GBMC’s Purell supply.

The Supply Chain team worked closely with GBMC Health Partners and Gilchrist to obtain supplies and share them across the organization. GBMC Health Partners has been maximizing PPE orders with their distributor, even if the practices do not currently need the materials. Gilchrist has then been able to utilize those excess supplies to serve hospice patients.

Materials Management created spaces on the 5th floor of the main hospital and in the warehouse building on Farmhouse Hill to manage the influx of PPE and other materials. GBMC  expanded beyond its just-in-time delivery model to store large quantities of PPE and other supplies that have been imported in bulk. The team manages 700+ inventory items daily.

Please join me in thanking these unsung heroes for all they do!

Thank – you for your support!
Over the past few weeks, there has been an outpouring of support for healthcare workers at GBMC, in our state, and across the nation – they have truly stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team needs the community’s continued support, which is why we are participating in a global day of giving and unity, known as Giving Tuesday Now, on Tuesday, May 5th. All funds raised on that day will benefit the GBMC HealthCare Workers Fund and help our employees. Please consider participating. Thank you!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking time to read "A Healthy Dialogue" and for commenting on the blog. Comments are an important part of the public dialogue and help facilitate conversation. All comments are reviewed before posting to ensure posts are not off-topic, do not violate patient confidentiality, and are civil. Differing opinions are welcome as long as the tone is respectful.