Ballad Health joins Premier Inc. to launch new program to invest in innovative domestic manufacturing

Published 1:48 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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JOHNSON CITY — Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), a leading healthcare improvement company, and Ballad Health, one of America’s leading rural and non-urban integrated health delivery systems, today announced a new program to invest in domestic and other innovative manufacturers to ensure a robust and resilient supply chain for essential medical products. Ballad Health is a health system owner of Premier, Inc., and partners with the company, to ensure high-quality supplies and services for the people served by Ballad Health.
This newly announced program provides a means for Premier, Ballad Health and other innovative health systems to invest in innovative business models, including partnering with quality manufacturers that can help fulfill the demands for medical supplies at risk of shortages in America. Initial areas of focus will include domestic suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as geographically diverse manufacturers of medical commodities currently in shortage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Twice this year alone, Ballad Health has been impacted by the unreliability of the supply chain from China,” said Ballad Health Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Levine. “An interruption in our services took place in January due to a Chinese manufacturer not demonstrating compliance with FDA standards, thus rendering those sterile gowns unreliable and unusable.  And then during the rise of COVID-19, the world has seen the impact of this overreliance on the current supply chain.   Ballad Health is joining leading national health systems to use our purchasing power to break this cycle and fund American and other reliable alternatives. Not only does this create more diversity in the supply chain, but it also helps our workforce retain the supplies they need to stay safe, healthy and able to provide quality care for the patients that count on us.”
“One of the major lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the current U.S. supply chain overleverages foreign markets for many vital medical products, which can inhibit our ability to manage through a pandemic or another natural disaster,” said Premier President Michael J. Alkire. “Premier has been sounding this alarm for years, and we have taken steps to insist that manufacturers have contingency plans in place, as well as a diverse supply chains for medical products. Despite this, it’s clear we must do more, which is why we created this program to find creative and meaningful ways to rebuild U.S. manufacturing and create healthy markets for commodity goods.”
Medical products that are critical for the daily operations of health systems are predominantly sourced overseas. In the case of PPE, approximately 80 percent of all supplies are sourced from Southeast Asia. The risks of this overreliance on Asia came into sharp focus as COVID-19 swept across the globe and these nations closed borders and prevented U.S. access to supplies, triggering widespread shortages of PPE needed to protect healthcare workers and patients.
“While we clearly understand that we need global diversity and domestic sources for supplies, the United States has historically been a high-cost region for manufacturing,” continued Alkire. “This program aims to alleviate some of this tension, supporting domestic or other manufacturers with capital and long-term contracts that will allow them to offer competitive price points. It’s truly a win-win strategy —where we get a broader array of quality products at a fair price, all while rebuilding domestic manufacturing and insulating ourselves from risk and disruption.”
“Ballad Health is grateful to be part of, and an owner of, America’s leading health improvement organization focused on protecting our nation from potential shortages of medical supplies,” added Levine. “This is a national problem that impacts our local neighbors. And Ballad Health intends to be a part of this national solution.”

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