12_PPE

12. Providing PPE to staff

Keeping track of PPE

Consideration

PPE shortages are still significantly impacting some OSCTCs.

Managing PPE procurement is an essential and ever-changing task, that requires continual communication with suppliers and OSCTCs.

Voices from the Field

“...like everybody we were really struggling to get PPE in and it was a constant shortage of you know, one piece …we would just get enough gowns in there and then we would be short on masks and then we would get enough masks and we would be short on gloves. It always seemed like there was one link in the chain that was on a shortage and back order and we really struggled to get.”
“We’re always still trying to procure stuff so that we are better prepared to go into whatever comes next. I don't think anybody would say that we’re comfortable where we are, but we certainly have enough we have nobody out there that is limited on doing what they want to do right now because of PPE.”
“The manager of the healthcare coalition does a daily email to everybody showing who has what …we have kind of a constant flow of where available at any given time.”
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Regional partnerships

Consideration

OSCTCs, particularly smaller ones, may want to work together to increase PPE buying power or to trade supplies.

Voices from the Field

“It's another one of these … each man for himself… the larger systems have their vendor relationships. They figured out they get their whatever discounts and supplies, and then everyone else.”
“We utilized some of our local networks in order to put our funds together … it gives us more buying power so we are able to buy large amounts of PPE… the minimums for some of these folks who are selling PPE, it is like you know 3 million units. That's not realistic for small county. It is not realistic for a group of six counties. All that's probably more realistic for a state. So, the reality of how those minimum orders were set in the business world and in the reality of what the actual need was down at the county level. It is a huge difference.”
“We were able to procure some supplies that others didn't have and barter and trade things.”
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Go local

Consideration

Work with local manufacturers that have adapted to produce PPE in response to shortages.

Voices from the Field

“[We have] a lot of good local partnerships with our local businesses that stepped up and started making PPE to provide for us”

Non-traditional PPE

Consideration

In periods of shortage, OSCTCs may need to identify creative solutions for PPE.

Voices from the Field

“[We are] using vet gloves that go up to your arm pit because those are the only portion that is actually going into the car with the patient.”
“There were talks of how does one reuse PPE and putting a surgical mask, over a N95.”
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Guidance on appropriate PPE

Consideration

OSCTCs do not have consistent guidance on the level of PPE required for staff collecting samples.

Voices from the Field

“What level of PPE is going to be required … is kind of a mixed bag. We are kind of making our own determination based upon a mishmash of what our [organization] has put out and what CDC has put out and what some of the other retailers have done.”