CHARLESTON, SC (KDKA) – The next time you visit your doctor or take your child to the pediatrician, you expect him and his team to be wearing “PPE” or personal protective equipment.
However, these masks, face shields, lab coats and gloves are very much in demand and difficult to find today.
This is something that a South Carolina doctor comes in. He is helping to ensure that Pittsburgh doctors are not short of supplies.
The effort to bring PPE to communities is being led by Dr. Marcelo Hochman through what is known as “group purchasing power”.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: What is the group’s purchasing power?
DR. HOCHMAN: The point is that I, as an individual independent doctor, need only X number of PPE units, so factories throughout this crisis are not responding to small orders because they have giant orders.
So, Dr. Hochman thought, let’s find a way to place a giant order.
His company, Action PPE, combines orders from small medical offices across the country, hoping to secure highly sought-after supplies.
“By combining my small order with 1,000 other small orders, we were suddenly able to generate an order that was of interest to the factories,” said Hochman.
The factories of N-95 masks, disposable masks, isolation gowns, face shields and gloves have already shipped orders to doctors in Gibsonia, Greensburg, Natrona Heights, Erie and Meadville.
Local doctors can place orders on the company’s website and find strength in the numbers.
“Now, I think we distribute, you know, or ship PPE to 40 of the states and more than 30 organizations that are using it,” said Hochman.
Although this idea has helped many people, what comes next when there may be a shortage?
Dr. Hochman needs to help small offices find needles and syringes.
“So, I may not be a vaccine supply center, I still need needles and syringes to do my job, so those are the things we’re trying to work on, preventively, and finding out what we need,” Dr. Hochman explained.
Action PPE is thinking about the future to ensure that local doctors are prepared before the next need for syringes.
So far, Action PPE has supplied more than 3.3 million items of PPE to 10,000 doctors across the country.