ActionPPE Research Reveals a Broken Supply Chain System That Fails Independent Practices
MT. PLEASANT, S.C.– February 18, 2021— Physicians’ lack of access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the early stages of the pandemic exposed a broken supply chain that had a widespread impact across the healthcare system. The results were revealed in a new survey by ActionPPE, Charleston County Medical Society’s (CCMS) nationwide collective buying initiative created by doctors for doctors.
One-third of Americans were forced to cancel in-person office visits due to their physicians’ lack of PPE, while more than two-thirds (68%) were aware of the scarcity of protective equipment nationwide. Nearly half (48%) of independent physicians who practice in remote locations and faced a PPE shortage felt overlooked by the U.S. healthcare system during the early stages of COVID-19.
ActionPPE polled 1,000 U.S. adult consumers about their beliefs on how the lack of PPE impacted Americans and their physicians, as well as how well the healthcare system in the U.S. is working.
The research confirms what doctors have shared about their experiences during the spring of 2020. It also underscores the importance of an organization like ActionPPE, which throughout the pandemic helped ensure that independent physicians had access to masks, gloves and other protective gear.
Where You Practice Determines Access
Americans don’t see the scarcity of PPE impacting all physicians equally. By a large margin (81%), Americans agree the inequities between urban/suburban and independent/rural providers are a systemic problem in healthcare today. During the early stages of COVID, 69% said the supply of PPE health practitioners depended on where they were affiliated or how they practiced. Only 23% agree doctors in independent practices get the PPE and medical supplies they need, compared to 40% who believe doctors affiliated with big hospitals/health systems receive the PPE and medical supplies they need. A large majority do not believe doctors in independent practice are prioritized.
“The current supply system has failed doctors who are unaffiliated with large health systems and hospitals, leaving them feeling vulnerable as the pandemic rages on and PPE shortages continue,” said Dr. Marcelo Hochman, ActionPPE founder and Charleston County Medical Society President. “Without the needed PPE, community hospital workers are at risk, while doctors in private practices struggle to keep their doors open.”
Americans living outside of urban and suburban areas or in areas where there aren’t large hospital systems expressed serious concerns that their neighborhood health facilities are ignored by PPE suppliers:
- 44% are worried they will get COVID-19
- 39% reported being scared for themselves and their family long term
- 33% are afraid to go to the hospital
- 19% said it made them feel less important than people in the city
Better Days Ahead?
Americans are nearly evenly split regarding how the U.S. healthcare system handled the pandemic: 49% reported they are satisfied, while 51% are not.
But Americans are looking forward to better days ahead and are optimistic that the Biden administration will bring a renewed focus on healthcare:
- 56% believe healthcare will be more of a focus with the new administration
- 53% believe the new administration will be better able to handle a public health crisis
- 49% believe healthcare will be more available
- 48% believe the quality will improve
- 45% also think it will be more expensive
However, there is little agreement on whether or not healthcare is a priority in the U.S. Twenty-four percent of Americans believe it works for people who can afford it, while the same percentage believe it works for people who are unhealthy. Another 20% said it works for Americans who are healthy.
While access to PPE such as masks and gloves is no longer challenging the U.S. healthcare system, there is still apprehension regarding how medical supply chain organizers respond to the needs of independent practices, especially for those located outside of large urban areas. As the vaccine rollout begins in earnest and inoculations ramp up, a new shortage looms on the horizon.
“We’re on the brink of a severe syringe shortage as inventories flood to the millions receiving the coronavirus vaccine, shifting supply away from ongoing clinical needs for diabetic patients, intravenous therapies, and injections of other kinds,” said Dr. Hochman. “We must fortify our supply now to avert this crisis, as the same dynamics that caused the PPE shortage are at play now with syringes.”
ActionPPE is committed to helping meet this challenge, as it did early in the pandemic with deliveries of masks, gloves, and other PPE equipment to independent and small practices nationwide.
About Charleston County Medical Society
The Charleston County Medical Society serves the needs of the entire medical community, patients who depend upon care rendered by member physicians, and organizations, hospital systems, and allied health resources, which strengthen the physician/patient relationship.
ActionPPE is a doctor-led group-buying collective created during COVID-19 to deliver vital PPE and medical supplies to independent physicians who were largely ignored by traditional supply chains. ActionPPE has now delivered more than 3 million units of FDA-certified PPE to physicians in 40 states, made possible through collaborations with medical associations across the country. As the industry continues to respond to the ripple effect from the pandemic, ActionPPE is anticipating demand for PPE and medical supplies, sourcing needed inventory to ensure continuity of care. For more information, visit www.actionppe.org.