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  • Sourcing PPE, Spotting Scams, and Evaluating Need: Six Resources

    PPE remains in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources may help you find the right equipment — and avoid counterfeits.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, providers continue to struggle with sourcing the personal protective equipment they need. And now there's an increasing danger that some of the PPE being offered for sale is counterfeit — nearly identical to the real thing but not up to performance standards. On top of that, limited supplies of PPE mean that providers have to be well-versed in the usage life of various pieces of equipment. In other words, when it comes to use of PPE, it can be easier said than done.

    Note: there's been some confusion about where PTs and PTAs stand in terms of establishing Amazon Business accounts to purchase PPE (when available) through the mega-retailer. Here's where things stand: Currently PTs and PTAs can sign up for an Amazon Business account; however they are not yet included in the "Medical Professionals" category for supply ordering. APTA is working to change this Amazon policy.

    While there are no all-encompassing solutions, there are resources that can help you not only access the PPE you need, but better understand proper use and ensure that the PPE you're able to acquire is the real thing. Here are six recommended resources.

    A PPE supplier list.
    The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living collaborated on a regularly updated list of PPE supplies that have recently served long term care providers. The organizations caution that the list is not an endorsement, but a list of suggested suppliers that may be useful "when PPE is not available through [a provider's] ordinary supply chains." As of May 8, the resource included six providers of PPE including N95 and KN95 facemasks, and three providers offering disposable face shields. Note: PPE among even these providers is in short supply, and backorders are common.

    A brief information sheet on identifying scam PPE.
    Also from AHCA and NCAL: This two-page resource includes 25 questions that can help you weed out the legit from the non-legit PPE vendors — and there are plenty of the latter out there.

    A free webinar from the CDC on making informed decisions about buying PPE from another country.
    This 90-minute webinar helps you understand the federal standards used to evaluate PPE, and what to look for in order to avoid ordering equipment that is being passed off as compliant when it's in fact a counterfeit.

    Strategies for optimizing the supply of N95 respirators.
    Another offering from the CDC, this website includes strategies to get the most use out of the N95 masks on hand, which are often in short supply.

    A "burn rate calculator" to help you calculate the rate at which your facility uses PPE and estimate how many days your PPE supply will last.
    The CDC created a tool, in form of an Excel spreadsheet, that helps you match PPE inventory against patient numbers to help determine current and future needs. The calculator is also available as a mobile app.

    Information on addressing PPE needs in non-health care settings.
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a fact sheet on what settings outside health care should be thinking about and doing when it comes to acquiring and using PPE. The resource includes five key questions that should be asked before making a PPE request to a local emergency management agency.

    Comments

    • A bridal company headquartered in the Kansas City area has converted some of their resources to making PPE. They have just gone "live" with supplying to the public or other health professionals. So, if you need another place to look, you can check them out. Verasano https://verasano.us/

      Posted by Denise Bruschi on 5/18/2020 4:00 PM

    • I have had an amazon business account and amazon has included me as a healthcare provider. I have gotten almost daily updates from them on what is available in the way of PPE for the past 4 weeks. I would encourage PT’s to go ahead and sign up.

      Posted by Meredith on 5/23/2020 8:59 AM

    • thank you for the update.

      Posted by Mayra Lupo on 5/23/2020 9:36 AM

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