Michael Einhorn

As long-term care providers such as nursing homes continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking extra precautions and amplifying their PPE and medical supply efforts beyond basic requirements.

According to Technavio,  incremental growth of $ 28.67 billion is projected in the personal protective equipment (PPE) market spanning 2020-2024. However, some PPE manufacturers are seeing downward sales trends in some sectors such as hospitality. 

Personally, I have seen an increase in orders across the board with clients across various industries backlogging PPE and medical supplies in preparation for a continued upswing in Delta variant cases, as well as what many predict to be a deadly fall flu season. 

Supply chain issues have proven to be challenging as wholesale suppliers are unable to keep up with the surge in immediate demand. The Food and Drug Administration has reported various instances of PPE shortages as well as COVID-19 tests and ventilators. At the tail-end of June surgical masks, respirators, hospital gowns and examination gloves were reported as medical devices in short supply.

Although we are not yet in the midst of a medical supply crisis like that seen in Spring of 2020, it would be wise to over-prepare and over-deliver as the Delta variant continues to pose a threat.

Our team is taking steps to enhance our distribution strategy by spreading out our inventory through multiple distribution centers, as well as diversifying the factories and manufacturers we use in order to avoid stockouts. 

Long-term care facilities should also work on diversifying their network of vendors to prevent supply shortages. 

We have expanded for the first time into the Southeast region to supplement our Northeast and Mid-Atlantic distribution centers and to support our rapidly growing customer base. In addition, we will be testing several distribution technologies to better catalog and track items, which will allow for better monitoring of inventory and stock.

As we approach the fall, we do not know what direction COVID will take. Looking at the supply chain issues across the board, an increased effort should be made on diversifying vendors and creating higher than normal par levels to reorder all items — including non-PPE items, and a process for controlling long-term backorders.

Michael Einhorn is the CEO of Dealmed.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.