LOS ANGELES – The U.S. suffered a severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – there weren’t nearly enough gloves, medical masks, gowns, or N95 respirators. Healthcare workers compared themselves to firefighters putting out fires without water – a crisis that certainly resulted in more deaths than necessary. In August 2020, L.A. Care Health Plan, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), and the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), in partnership with leaders from the business and economic development communities, formed the Southern California PPE Consortium to develop a plan that would ensure the region is not caught unprepared in the next health care emergency.
“Before the pandemic, most people had probably never heard of the acronym PPE,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “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 Dell Corning, a highly qualified 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 in preventing 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 and ensure they’re well stocked for the next pandemic or crisis.”
While the initial orders would be used for normal consumption by hospitals and other providers, the ultimate objectives are to create a local stockpile and to bring local PPE manufacturing to Southern California. Once the ordering volume reaches a sustainable level, Dell Corning will produce the PPE in Southern California and maintain a stockpile that could support the region in any future health care crisis.
“The PPE Consortium is an ongoing effort that will guide our response to future emergencies,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP CEO. “Our next steps include sharing the news of this important work with our resident, providers, and hospitals across Southern California.”
Ten Southern California counties will participate in the consortium. They include Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Imperial.
Providers in these 10 counties who choose to participate will sign a letter of agreement with Dell Corning, with prices guaranteed for three years. More information about the program can be found here.
About Hospital Association of Southern California
The Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) regional trade association. HASC is dedicated to effectively advancing the interests of hospitals in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. We comprise over 170 hospitals and 30-plus health systems, plus associate members and partner organizations. All have one common mission: to improve the operating environment for hospitals and the health status of the communities they serve. To learn more, please visit hasc.org.
About Inland Empire Health Plan
With a mission to heal and inspire the human spirit, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans, the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid public health plan in the country, and for the third year in a row, certified as A Great Place To Work®. In its 27th year, IEHP supports more than 1.4 million Riverside and San Bernardino County residents enrolled in Medicaid or IEHP DualChoice (those with both Medi-Cal and Medicare). Today, IEHP has a growing network of nearly 6,800 providers and more than 3,000 team members who are fully committed to the vision: We will not rest until our communities enjoy optimal care and vibrant health. To learn more, go to iehp.org.