Advocate Aurora Health and 14 other health systems announced they are investing in personal protective equipment manufacturer Prestige Ameritech.Milwaukee- and Downers Grove, Illinois-based Advocate Aurora has partnered with Charlotte, North Carolina-based health care improvement company Premier, Inc. to acquire a minority stake in the Fort Worth, Texas-based PPE manufacturer.Prestige Ameritech said it is the largest domestic manufacturer of face masks, including N95 respirators and surgical masks. While PPE supplies for Wisconsin health systems have largely stabilized in recent weeks, it remains a concern as they resume health care services that were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. New safety protocols at health care facilities require more face masks and more gowns for staff members and patients. In addition to its equity investment, Advocate Aurora has committed to purchase a portion of all masks used annually from Prestige Ameritech for up to six years, inclusive of a three-year renewal option. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.“Our supply chain team has been scouring the globe to ensure our team members on the front lines have the PPE they need,” said Jim Skogsbergh, president and chief executive officer of Advocate Aurora. “It’s clear that over reliance on foreign manufacturers has been a driving cause of the issues care providers across the country have faced these past two months. By funding domestic production, we intend to change that landscape and create a more diverse, reliable supply chain so that we can keep our workforce safe and healthy and continue to provide high quality care to the communities we’re so proud to serve.”Currently, about 80% of U.S. PPE products come from China and southeast Asia, according to Premier.“As COVID-19 proves, the United States is almost completely at the mercy of foreign nations for vital supplies,” said Dan Reese, Prestige Ameritech co-founder and CEO. “We are ready, willing and able to surge our U.S.-based production and help alleviate the national PPE shortage. With the long-term commitment from Advocate Aurora, we have certainty that allows us to invest in increased production.”Prestige Ameritech said it draws raw materials and production capabilities from the U.S., and does 100% of its business with U.S. customers.
Other health systems participating in the initial investment include AdventHealth of Altamonte Springs, Florida; Adventist Health of Roseville, California; Ballad Health of Johnson City, Tennessee; Banner Health of Phoenix; Baptist Health South Florida of Miami; CommonSpirit Health of Chicago; Genesis Health System of Davenport, Iowa; Henry Ford Health System of Detroit; McLaren Health Care of Grand Blanc, Michigan; Riverside Health System of Newport News, Virginia; St. Luke’s University Health Network of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Texas Health Resources of Arlington, TX; Universal Health Services, Inc. of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and University Hospitals of Cleveland.
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