The medical products needed for daily health care operations are overwhelmingly sourced overseas. With approximately 80 percent of personal protective equipment (PPE) coming from abroad, supply chain interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in this reliance on international manufacturers. With two new sources that focus on the domestic production of gowns and face masks, AdventHealth is working to better insulate itself from the dependency on overseas supplies.
AdventHealth has partnered with DeRoyal Industries Inc., a global medical manufacturer, and Premier Inc., a leading performance improvement company, to create a new joint venture dedicated to the domestic production of isolation gowns. The joint venture will produce isolation gowns in an existing facility outside Knoxville, TN., with raw materials sourced from U.S.-based manufacturers and backup capacity from Mexico and South America. In this unique collaboration, gowns will be designed to specifications considering AdventHealth’s care delivery requirements, while also allowing for fully automated production that can scale over time.
Additionally, AdventHealth is committing to purchase made-in-America face masks from health care manufacturer and distributor, Medline, as part of their North American manufacturing expansion initiative. Medline, which will manufacture face masks in North America for the first time, will begin production on level-1 ear loop procedure masks in January, with an anticipated second production line launching later in 2021. Once the two lines are fully operational, it is estimated that Medline will produce 36 million face masks per month.
“Ensuring that our team members have the equipment and PPE they need to protect themselves and care for the communities we serve is a top priority,” said Marisa Farabaugh, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer for AdventHealth. “Leveraging additional supply lines and domestically produced products better equips us to navigate shortages and disruptions should they occur in the future.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, lessons learned from the first wave are helping inform proactive measures with many communities around the country reporting spikes in infections. Earlier this year, AdventHealth was among 15 leading health systems that, along with Premier, acquired a minority stake in Prestige Ameritech, the largest domestic manufacturer of face masks, including N95 respirators and surgical masks.
These new and expanded relationships with DeRoyal and Medline are continuations of AdventHealth’s ongoing effort to solidify the continuity of its supply chain, which also includes building a consolidated service center, utilizing multiple manufacturers and diversified suppliers, an increased focus on domestic production and partnering with other health systems to create a more robust supply chain.