Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Update
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been problematic. The dramatic increase in global demand quickly exceeded the capacity of manufacturers to supply. This resulted in traditional manufacturers and distributors implementing product allocation processes. The allocation process typically allocates products to existing customers based on their historic purchase volumes. As a result, those healthcare providers whose pre-COVID practices did not routinely require the use of significant PPE (N95 masks specifically) are not eligible to receive the allocated products.
The global nature of the pandemic, exponential increase in demand and governmental intervention have combined to severely disrupt established worldwide supply chains. This disruption has resulted in significant increases in PPE product pricing as buyers flooded the market competing for the limited supply. These problems have been compounded by attracting shady characters to the marketplace seeking to capitalize on the situation by hoarding, profiteering, acting as brokers, introducing counterfeit products and taking advantage of desperate buyers.
As has been widely publicized in the news, it is not unusual for orders to go unfulfilled - often because the seller receives a better offer from another buyer. In addition, most suppliers require commitment to large quantities requiring significant up-front payments. All these factors have combined to cause buyers to just as concerned with receiving the products they have ordered in a timely manner as they are with the significant increases in product costs.
Even when a legitimate source can be found, they typically require minimum orders of thousands of masks with 50% paid upfront. While governments and large hospital systems may have the resources to meet these requirements, they are out of reach for independent non-acute practices.
The majority of HPS members are independent non-acute practices whose pre-COVID need for particulate respirators (N95 masks) was minimal. As a result, many do not qualify for the current allocations put in place by traditional manufacturers and suppliers. This has left many of our members scrambling to find a reliable source for the masks they need to re-open, or continue to operate, their practices safely.
Throughout the pandemic, HPS has been actively seeking reliable sources of quality personal protective products for our members at reasonable prices. After weeks of hearing horror stories from members attempting to secure masks on their own, it became apparent that the only way to help our members was to step up and intervene on their behalf.
We are pleased to report that we have finally identified a reliable source of KN95 masks for our members. The KN95 mask is the Chinese equivalent of the N95 and has US FDA approval.
To overcome the large minimum order barriers for our members, the employees of HPS pooled their own money to purchase an initial order of the masks. In an effort to help our members and in the interest of doing what is right, we will be providing these masks to our members at our cost.
In the 18+ years since the founding of HPS, we have never purchased or sold any products to our members and, as a result, lack the expertise and infrastructure to efficiently distribute the masks we have purchased. To overcome these limitations, HPS has identified an existing e-commerce site that we will use to process orders, accept payment and arrange for shipping of individual orders to our members. This allows our members to purchase as few as 100 masks per order.
This is intended to be a temporary solution to address the current situation until the traditional supply chain recovers. Just as soon as our members can consistently get their needs met elsewhere, we will discontinue this effort and return to our standard operating methodology. However, until that time we will continue to replenish our inventory as members deplete our initial purchase volume as well as working to add additional allocated products needed by members. It is important to note that the more we can order at a time, the lower we can negotiate the pricing and rest assured that those reductions in our cost will be passed along to our members.
KN95 Masks Ordering Instructions
Please follow ordering instructions to ensure you are ordering the items you want at the prices expected.