Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital bolsters supply chain | TheUnion.com
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Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital bolsters supply chain

John Orona
Staff Writer

While hospitals and health care facilities across the U.S. are once again reporting a shortage of personal protective equipment, the supply in western Nevada County is, at least for now, holding up.

According to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital CEO Dr. Brian Evans, the hospital is confident about its ability to handle a potential uptick in cases and need for equipment.

“We’ve gotten better at sourcing different types of supplies, we’ve gotten better at not wasting supplies, we also have found alternatives like reusable face shields, for example, instead of disposable ones,” Evans said.

Last month the hospital’s parent company, CommonSpirit Health, partnered with health care improvement organization Premier to acquire a minority stake in the largest U.S. manufacturer of personal protective equipment. The company, Prestige Ameritech, manufactures face masks, N95 respirators, surgical masks and medical gowns, among other supplies.

More than 80% of the U.S. supply of personal protective equipment is imported, according to a release announcing the deal, a statistic Evans hopes the industry now has the impetus to change.

“When you have a crisis like this — and you don’t want to have a crisis like this — what it does do is it forces your hospitals and all the different parts of the health care system to need to start coordinating more effectively and working together to solve these very complex problems,” he said.

According to Evans, thanks to the relatively low volume of cases and availability of equipment, the hospital has been able to resume performing elective surgeries, a vital revenue driver, particularly for rural hospitals.

“We’re looking at every patient individually and we’re trying to make a determination about what is best for that patient, and also what are our resources and capability for dealing with that case and whatever else is going on in the hospital,” he said.

But while Evans is optimistic about where the county stands now, he cautioned the pandemic is unpredictable.

“The reality is it’s hard to predict exactly what’s going to happen with supplies in the future depending on what is going on with COVID-19 throughout the country. When you see those kind of increases lately, you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen to the curve,” Evans said. “I think we need to be very vigilant, not only about making sure we have enough supplies, but making sure we slow the spread and flatten the curve as much as we possibly can.”

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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