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Dayton's Hospitals Are Keeping A Close Eye On Their PPE Supplies

Miami Valley hospitals are still working to get enough personal protective supplies.
Miami Valley hospitals are still working to get enough personal protective supplies.

Shortages of personal protective equipment left hospitals reeling at the start of the pandemic. Now, months into the crisis, we wondered, how difficult has it been for the Miami Valley’s hospitals to keep their critical protective supplies in stock?

WYSO’s Jason Saul sat down with Sarah Hackenbracht of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association to learn more.

Jason Saul: Sarah, can you tell me, are Dayton hospitals still suffering shortages of things like personal protective equipment like you were a few months ago?

Sarah Hackenbracht: The shortage of PPE, the gowns and the gloves and the masks and the face shields that are clinical providers absolutely must have, continues to be something that we as a hospital organization and in partnership with our members are monitoring every single day. I'm pleased to share that, thus far, the distribution channels have really improved for our member hospitals and we are looking at a much more positive situation where we have the necessary PPE on hand. But we also have some new and additionally reliable PPE channels where we can get those materials into our community to support our hospitals, as well as some of our other partners along the health care continuum.

Jason Saul: Are there some kind of supplies in particular that have been hard to find?

Sarah Hackenbracht: We continue to struggle with gowns, and that is one of the ongoing challenges across the health care sector in the state of Ohio, because gowns have to be changed so frequently that every health care organization is closely monitoring their supply. And then continuing to try and purchase what they need. But then also to build in that backstop, should we see a significant uptick in cases here in the in the region.

Jason Saul: Have you found it difficult, or have your hospitals found it difficult, to know the supplies that they have? Or do you have pretty robust inventory systems?

Sarah Hackenbracht: All of the hospitals have very robust inventory systems. So they know their current supply. They know their daily burn rate. And they know the trajectory of what they have on hand by day and by week.

Jason Saul: The Ohio Department of Health has said they've put in a PPE inventory tracking system as well. Is GDAHA part of this system? And how often do you report if you are?

Sarah Hackenbracht: So all the hospitals across the state of Ohio are reporting PPE to the Ohio Department of Health every single day. And that is something that all of our hospitals have been doing since the early days of this pandemic so that we could help collectively understand where we were as a region and understand where other regions in the state were in terms of managing PPE supplies. Because remember, very early on, we weren't sure if we would see an entire statewide impact of COVID-19 or if we would start to see hot spots where one area of the state was more readily affected than others. And then if there needed to be sharing agreements in place between the regions of the state so that we could support all Ohioans across the state.

Jason Saul: So do you feel like you have the supplies they need now? We see cases rising in a lot of different places, especially in Montgomery County right now. If there's a crush of new patients with COVID-19, do you feel like you have the resources and enough supplies to be able to deal with what's to come?

Sarah Hackenbracht: Right now, our hospitals are feeling very comfortable with their current supply chains. And it is important to remember that even though we are seeing an uptick in cases here in our region, this is still at a very manageable level for the region overall. So we are by no means in a surge of COVID-19 patients. And so what that allows us to do is manage both this small uptick of COVID-19 cases, alongside those surgeries or procedures that may have been deferred earlier this year that we've been able to bring back into our hospitals and our health care institutions. Because at the same time, we're managing COVID-19, we really have to help the public understand that this is not the time to delay your routine care and your checkups and your visits or to be afraid to come in for any emergency procedure. It's really important that if someone is in emergency and they would have traditionally sought care at an emergency department, they need to have that same comfort and confidence that we are there to take care of them and we'll be able to do so safely.