Henry Ford Takes Another Step in Safeguarding Long-Term PPE Supply

July 14, 2021
(DETROIT – July 14, 2021) - In the latest move to add more American producers as suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Henry Ford and other healthcare partner members of Premier Inc. are committing to purchase a percentage of their annual supply of exam gloves from Honeywell International Inc. for the next five years and also pledging to Buy American for other PPE.

Henry Ford is among 80 hospitals entered into the agreement to buy nitrile exam gloves from North Carolina-based Honeywell through S2S Global, a subsidiary of Premier Inc.. In the first year alone, more than 750 million gloves will be manufactured. About 90 percent of those will go to hospital members of Premier Inc., which pools health systems to boost buying power and supply sources.

Henry Ford has committed to purchase 18.5 million eaches of the gloves – about 20 percent of its overall usage – each year. Each member of the purchasing consortium chooses its purchase amount.

The goal is to safeguard against breakdowns in the supply chain due to uncontrollable or catastrophic situations - and avoid shortages like the ones that plagued healthcare organizations during the pandemic due to reliance on overseas PPE producers.

Additionally, Henry Ford and its partners are committing to Premier Inc’s Buy American purchasing effort to boost onshore PPE production – gowns, masks, more - by providing the scale and financial incentives.

“The pandemic and its effects on the global supply chain taught us that reliance on offshore manufacturers can leave us in precarious situations, situations that we want to prevent,” said William Moir, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Management, Henry Ford Health System.

“To effectively protect our team members and the communities we serve, we know we must innovate and shift the paradigm of the traditional US healthcare supply chain.  That being said, it is critical we partner with other healthcare organizations and partners like Premier to build resiliency and scale into our new reality post COVID.  A critical strategy to do so is diversification of our PPE vendors and boosting domestic manufacturing,” Moir said.

Exam gloves are still considered to be a threatened PPE supply and one of many PPE supplies Henry Ford is shoring up by supporting onshore producers.

Exam gloves are used in a variety of ways across treatment settings, including during routine and primary care visits, for clinicians in the operating room and emergency room, and during OB-GYN visits – making them a vital supply to safeguard healthcare workers and care for patients.

Currently more than 80 percent of PPE items are manufactured overseas, which can limit U.S. providers' access during public health emergencies. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, exam glove supply has been constrained as global demand skyrocketed exceeding production capacity by nearly 40 percent. Global raw material scarcity, port closures and delays, and increased gloves usage as a result of vaccination efforts have exacerbated ongoing shortages.

During the pandemic, many Michigan businesses, small and large, shifted their production to PPE and helped prevent supplies from running out.

The Honeywell initiative and the Buy American effort join prior agreements and commitments between Henry Ford, Premier Inc. and other hospitals and health systems.

In May 2020, Henry Ford and 14 other hospitals formally agreed to collaborate on purchases from domestic suppliers and launched an investment in a US manufacturer of N-95 face masks. More on that: https://www.henryford.com/news/2020/05/henry-ford-joins-partnership-to-increase-domestic-sources-of-medical-supplies

“Throughout the pandemic, Henry Ford has stepped up to help change the way we source critical products,” said Michael J. Alkire, President and CEO of Premier. “Henry Ford is a true innovator, as this initiative and the added domestic supply it provides would not be possible without its commitment. Henry Ford deserves recognition for their leadership and for their contribution to helping bring PPE production back to America”

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About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes Henry Ford Medical Group, with more than 1,900 physicians and researchers practicing in more than 50 specialties at locations throughout Southeast and Central Michigan. Acute care hospitals include Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, MI – both Magnet® hospitals; Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people. Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals.

About Premier Inc.
Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of more than 4,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems and approximately 200,000 other providers and organizations to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and consulting and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare.