How the resin shortage is affecting hospitals

The shortage of resin, an ingredient medical manufacturers use in plastic products, isn't affecting hospitals equally.

Some supply chain hospital leaders told Becker's the shortage is touching multiple products, while others said they aren't experiencing it at all.

"This shortage has affected multiple product lines that include blood collection, laboratory and respiratory products," Steve Pohlman, Cleveland Clinic's executive director of clinical supply chain, said. "At this time, patient care has not been affected, as we have been able to find substitutes or implement conservation methods where appropriate."

Mr. Pohlman told Bloomberg the healthcare system, which has eight regional hospitals and 16 family health centers, has felt this shortage since June

At the other end of the spectrum, a spokesperson for Stanford (Calif.) Health told Becker's the plastic shortage "is not having a significant impact."

For those affected, a few supply chain experts pointed to less fuel and natural gas use as well as manufacturing cost pressures. Mayo Clinic's chair of supply chain management, Jim Francis, said that despite "increased requests for price adjustments associated with supplies containing plastic," the 16-hospital system isn't feeling a disruption. 

Increased competition might be why some hospitals are feeling the strain while others aren't. Tom Harvieux, the vice president and chief supply chain officer of St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare, said his health system isn't seeing a resin shortage but is hearing murmurs about it. 

"We have been told resin and some specific products are very challenged (e.g. select silicones)," Mr. Harvieux said. "One [manufacturer] stated that medical suppliers are fighting for plastic raw materials with companies that have more resources and margins to pay more (like automotive, etc)."

Other potential reasons for the shortage are COVID-19 lockdowns, natural disasters, worker strikes and recalls, according to Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Parkview Health's Jack Hahn, vice president of supply chain, and Jesse Stanton, director of supply chain integration.

They said this shortage is no different from others.

"In response, as with all product shortages, we have diversified our procurement strategies to include partnering with vendors that have vertically integrated supply chains to reduce supply disruptions, and diversifying market share to reduce our dependence on sole-source models," Mr. Hahn and Mr. Stanton said in a joint statement.

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