COVID-19 - April 20, 2020
by Amanda Ranowsky
If the morning was a tad on the chilly side, at least it was sunny. For Lisa Wallace, Corporate Director of Supply Chain at Goodwin House Incorporated, the clear weather was good news. It meant she and her team would have an easier time with the very important mission they had that day.
On Wednesday, April 15, Lisa and her youngest son collected a rented U-Haul truck and made the trek from Alexandria, Virginia to Baltimore, Maryland. Their destination: Intralin Corporation, an import distributor. Their mission: to collect a very large order of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Waiting for Lisa and her son in Baltimore was an order of 372,300 surgical (FFP2) masks. In collaboration with LeadingAge Virginia, the Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area and Intralin Corporation, Goodwin House had ordered a large shipment of surgical masks that would be distributed among 53 participating organizations.
As COVID-19 began to spread across the country and PPE was growing scarce, Lisa knew it was more important than ever to secure steady supply chains for these resources. She also knew that hospitals would be prioritized in government relief efforts, leaving senior living and health care organizations vulnerable to PPE shortages.
“I was lying in bed one night, worrying,” she said. “And that’s when the idea came to me: we could collaborate with other organizations like ours to get the supplies we need.” Lisa knew that one key element to ordering supplies was ordering in large quantities. Individual organizations might not be in a position to place an order large enough, but bringing several together to purchase as a group might.
Such collaboration isn’t new to Lisa. She is a member of the Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area and sits on its Supply Chain Advisory Council. The board members frequently collaborate to find the best resources for their organizations. Buying as a group helps them to get the best prices.
The morning after her brainstorm, Lisa took the idea to Goodwin House President and CEO Rob Liebreich and Chief Financial Officer Richard Carter. They immediately approved the idea.
A bulk order would require the purchase of over 100,000 masks. Vice President of Business Development Andy Siegel contacted more than 75 healthcare providers. He also reached out to LeadingAge Virginia President and CEO Melissa Andrews for help coordinating the effort. There was an overwhelming response, with 53 organizations eventually signing on to the order. With Melissa’s help, Goodwin House worked to determine the individual PPE needs of the participating organizations.
“When Goodwin House reached out to include all of our LeadingAge Virginia members in the mask purchase, I was overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Melissa. “This is the power of belonging to an association – not for profit providers looking to support other not for profit providers during this pandemic.”
At the Intralin Corp. warehouse, a wonderful team of warehouse workers helped Lisa and her son to load the boxes of masks on to their truck. The next day, Lisa took the truck to Goodwin House Alexandria, where the supplies would be distributed to the other participating organizations. “Our original order was for 762,300 surgical masks and 352,000 N95 masks,” Lisa said. “We’re waiting on the remainder of our surgical mask order. Unfortunately, the N95 portion of our order was cancelled at the last minute, though we have resumed efforts to obtain more N95 masks.”
One dozen Goodwin House colleagues – including members of the supply chain, home health and hospice teams – joined in to unload and distribute the supplies. “So many members of our Goodwin House family came together to support the distribution,” said Andy Siegel. “It was wonderful to see all of the smiling faces as we divided up the masks and sent them on their way.”
Goodwin House plans to continue this group buy collaboration in an effort to obtain much-needed PPE. In spite of the disappointment over the cancelled N95 mask order, the collaboration has already brought some relief to the participating organizations. The remaining 390,000 surgical masks from this order are expected to arrive in the next week or two.
“Since Goodwin House’s initial mask purchase, we have seen more examples of these types of group purchasing throughout our membership,” said Melissa. “The Goodwin House team are incredible stewards and leaders in our field!”
Lisa would like to extend thanks to Les Pitton, President of the Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area, and Gautam Mehta, Vice President of Intralin Corporation, for their assistance in coordinating and facilitating the group buy.
“Collaborations like these help all of us,” she said. “We are grateful for the ability to support our own organization’s needs as we work together with fellow healthcare providers.”
As Marketing & Communications Specialist, Amanda Ranowsky partners with colleagues throughout Goodwin House to tell our stories and raise brand awareness. From printed collateral to digital marketing, Amanda covers many bases. Before joining GHI, Amanda worked for a small, family-owned business where she gained experience in content marketing. Amanda’s creative expression extends beyond the office. She is an active member of community theater and chorus groups.