HealthTrust’s response includes clinical supplies & pandemic resources

As the pandemic began to make its appearance in U.S. hospitals, HealthTrust launched its response in supporting member facilities across the country in the fight against COVID-19.

Ed Jones

“The battle was one of epic proportion, made even more difficult by an invisible enemy,” says HealthTrust CEO Ed Jones. “Our GPO is the critical supply line in empowering and protecting our members’ caregivers with the gear needed to endure and win the fight.”

A major challenge, however, was the unprecedented global demand for those products. It was outstripping supply by a significant margin. Jones adds, “Never have we had a situation where the entire world was in a race to secure these critical products, and the raw materials needed to create them, at the same time.”

Since early March, HealthTrust personnel have diligently vetted more than 2,000 leads to secure quality personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, lab tests and other products critical to the thousands of caregivers battling COVID on the frontlines. As stay-at-home orders were put in place, the majority of HealthTrust colleagues worked remotely and were temporarily restructured into one or two of 13 workstreams aimed at supporting various aspects of the COVID fight:

Michael Berryhill

The Administration workstream chased more than 2,000 leads and extended many existing contracts to avoid potential supply disruptions. Every potential supplier was vetted for product viability and quality standards. As COO Michael Berryhill advised the team, “It is just as important to keep bad products out of the system as it is to find good products.”

Products were added to existing agreements, such as COVID-19 serology antibody IGG tests, SARS-CoV-2 testing products, Level 1 ear loop masks and positioning aids. New product agreements were signed for UV light disinfection systems, emergency surge patient beds and respiratory bronchial hygiene, among others. The Cross Reference team helped maintain the categorization and cross accuracy of new products that were introduced.

The Alternative Approaches work group provided clinical support by evaluating the feasibility of innovative products, concepts and processes, and making available on the HealthTrust public education site clinical practice documents and summaries of federal guidance on alternative practices such as PPE decontamination.

The Commercial Services workstream helped to arrange airfreight and other modes of shipments through HealthTrust transportation partners; scheduled same-day logistics for COVID lab tests; helped deliver and install bulk oxygen tanks; and, it orchestrated an agreement to sell convalescent plasma. The Purchased Services team contracted for medical waste disposal, disinfection services, generators, laundry services and refrigerated trucks.

Education & Communications team members provided their writing and communications expertise in support of the deliverables of various workstreams and in creating COVID-19 resources for HealthTrust members.

The Laboratory work group sourced consumables for specimen collection, including swabs and tubes with viral transport media. The team also sought FDA Emergency Use Authorizations for various types of non-traditional media.

The Medical Capital Equipment workstream sourced IV pumps, beds and stretchers (for purchase and rental), thermometry devices and UV disinfection systems, locating suppliers with short turnaround times.

The Member Support work group kept in close contact with members and their assigned account management resources throughout the crisis to assess their situations and anticipate supply needs. Through collaboration with other workstreams, communications kept member executives and supply chain and clinical leaders informed of HealthTrust’s COVID support initiatives. In addition to clinical and PPE conservation guidance, a PPE toolkit and calculator have proved helpful to members in managing scarce supplies and in benchmarking utilization rates.

The New Manufacturing/New Sources team worked with Ford Motor Company, which converted its machinery to create face shields for hospitals in hot zones, including Detroit’s Beaumont Health. Ford is also using airbag material to make gowns that can be cleaned and reused.

The Other Industries work group reached out to CoreTrust members to vet alternative sources for needed supplies. These non-healthcare resources were able to help HealthTrust secure face shields, goggles, gloves, hand sanitizer, cleaning solutions and sanitizing wipes.

The PPE workstream pursued bulk sources for personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators and other face masks, gowns (isolation, disposables, reusables), head and shoe coverings, and more. There were endless leads and brokers claiming to have products that never materialized.

Given the shortages in PPE during the uncertain times, member facilities were being approached by countless manufacturers, distributors, brokers and agents offering PPE. HealthTrust advised that they exercise caution when evaluating those product sources and offered both written and live telephone guidance on how to accurately vet such leads.

The Pharmacy work group moved a number of products to the controlled channel to protect inventory for member purchases and signed a number of new suppliers for priority medications used during intubations. The team continues to advise HealthTrust members on conservation strategies for critical drugs, such as sedatives and pain medications.

The Respiratory workstream thoroughly reviewed and evaluated the viability and quality of ~70 products (ventilators, CPAPs, BiPAPs, disposables, etc.) from more than 60 suppliers, adding a number of them to contract for increased access. The team also created tools and resources for members that were shared with and used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Virtual Warehouse work group is stockpiling and distributing essential items through temporary warehouses located near members in three southern states. A number of colleagues were redeployed to pick up supplies and load trucks.

Share Email
, , ,