In This Issue
Messages from Chapter Leadership
Message from the Regent
Message from the Chapter President
Articles of Interest
Behind the Scenes: Supply Chain Managers Work to Keep Hawaii's Healthcare Workers Safe
How to Use Virtual Visits to Connect Coronavirus Patients With Loved Ones
We Must Stay Informed
Calendars and Recent Events
Calendar of Events
Calendar of Educational Events
News & Committee Updates
News from the Education Committee
Student Corner
Member Spotlight
Membership Report: New Fellows, Members, and Recertified Fellows
ACHE Resources
ACHE National News
Career Corner
Access Complimentary Resources for the Board of Governors Exam
Ensure delivery of Chapter E-newsletter (Disclaimer)
Thank you to all our Sponsors
Behind the Scenes: Supply Chain Managers Work to Keep Hawaii's Healthcare Workers Safe
By Kenny Morris

As the COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the world over the past few months, one area of healthcare has been working behind the scenes to support and manage the essential personal protective equipment (PPE) utilized by frontline healthcare workers throughout the islands. The Supply Chain Management personnel at hospitals, physician and dental offices, and surgical centers in Hawaii have been scrambling and working around the clock combing through supplier networks, building up local stockpiles and organizing community donations in attempts to bolster their supply of PPE to protect those in healthcare that are most at risk. At three local hospital organizations, Adventist Health Castle, Hawaii Pacific Health and The Queen’s Health Systems, increases in front line demand for PPE have spiked since the start of the Pandemic.

Prior to COVID-19, the need for specialty N95 masks and face shields was relatively low and mostly in pharmaceutical compounding areas and airborne isolation rooms. At Adventist Health Castle, Brian Kay, Director of Supply Chain Management, reported a nearly 1200% increase in utilization of N95 masks and face shields specifically during the highest points of COVID-19 hyper-awareness. To cope with the increased demand and subsequent need for warehouse space, Kay and Adventist Health Castle Leadership commandeered the hospital auditorium to store essential supplies and PPE in the event a spike in cases occurred. COVID-19-unit setup exercises and supply burn rate reporting in addition to normal operations have become the new normal as Kay and his team work to keep Castle’s workers safe.

Corey Au, Director of Supply Chain and Strategic Sourcing at The Queen’s Health Systems, has seen a major increase in both demand for PPE at QHS facilities and prices for those supplies. With suppliers struggling to keep up with demand, Au has seen prices for N95’s increase by as much as 900%. “We used to pay $0.52 for N95,” Au stated, but “now we pay between $3.50 and $4.70 a mask”. Demand and pricing for surgical masks have also increased. Prior to the pandemic Queen’s paid around $.07 per mask. With backorders across the board with original suppliers, Queen’s and other health systems have had to look to China for sourcing at prices as much as 1200% above normal. Community donations have been helpful. Queen’s has received great support from local organizations and individuals. In addition to normal operations during the week, supply chain managers at Queen’s Punchbowl have been spending weekends sorting, cataloging and distributing donations to the various units throughout the hospital. To accommodate the new higher levels of PPE required in preparation for COVID-19, Queen’s also was able to build out additional secured warehouse space on campus for PPE and supplies.

Hawaii Pacific Health’s initial surge in usage of PPE associated with COVID-19 has given way to a slowdown. According to Dave Stumbaugh, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, “burn rates are actually lower than March due to elective procedures being shut down and then slowly ramping up”. HPH, which operates its own medical supplies warehouse on O‘ahu, has benefitted from not needing to procure additional warehouse space to store PPE and essential supplies.

With such a heavy focus on hospitals and first responders, the Hawai’i dental community has had difficulty getting their hands on necessary protective equipment. Jason Ching D.D.S, a pediatric dentist in Pearl City, has taken matters into his own hands. He organized a group of over 70 local dentists in partnership with physician groups and hospital partners to provide a means for small dental practices to take part in bulk purchasing of PPE and supplies normally inaccessible to individual practices. Though most dental offices closed during the lockdown order in Hawaii to all but the most emergent procedures, elective procedures are beginning again, and the need for protective equipment for staff is greater than ever. Almost all dental procedures create aerosolized oral particles at close range that create an elevated risk of transmission for Dentists, Dental Hygienists and Assistants.

Many of the changes that have accompanied health care facilities’ responses to the Pandemic will remain in place for some time. Extensive use of PPE is definitely among these. Continued innovation and adjustment to ever-changing circumstances will be essential if healthcare providers of all types and sizes are to meet this need effectively. The behind the scenes work of all of those involved in Supply Chain Management plays a crucial role with helping to keep our health care workers, patients, and the community safe.