5 ways rural hospitals can secure PPE

With less funding than large health systems, rural hospitals often have to work with limited supplies, and public health experts have warned that they could become the next COVID-19 hot spot due to their lack of resources.

Advisory Board, a Washington D.C.-based research firm, put together a list of ways rural hospitals can secure personal protective equipment despite national shortages: 

  1. Find resources from local businesses that want to help. In some towns, hardware stores have donated N95 masks to hospitals, and towns sometimes have stocks of N95 masks to use for agricultural purposes that they may be willing to donate.

  2. Coordinate distribution among hospitals. The CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals bought 70,000 surgical masks from Mexico. To shorten the distribution time, he delivered masks to one hospital, which then arranged to deliver masks to the next closest hospital and so on, Advisory Board said.

  3. Create an ad hoc supply chain team. Use all available team members to coordinate deliveries of supplies from wherever possible. The nonprofit Angel Flight, an organization that provides free air transport for passengers needing medical assistance, pivoted its services to help transport PPE to rural areas in a partnership with the Colorado Hospital Association, according to Advisory Board.

  4. Use online platforms to trade supplies with other hospitals in need. Stanford Health Care, Premier and Resliinc created the Exchange platform, which matches hospitals with surpluses of supplies to those in need.

  5. Sanitize PPE to make it usable for longer. Rural hospitals can pool resources to get equipment needed to sanitize PPE, and the FDA has approved several sterilization methods.

Read the full article here

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