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To respond to critical needs, hospitals have started shipping items from around the world on their own, with 80,000 testing swabs flown in from Italy, and 12 hospitals in New York working with a medical supplier to fly shipments from China.
The main supply concerns continue to be:
- Inadequate number of test kits and materials needed to conduct and process tests.
- Lack of PPE, including gloves, masks, and face shields.
- Insufficient ventilators to manage surges in ICU admissions.
- Lack of clear guidance between the CDC, FEMA, federal, state and local governments on the proper use of off label supplies.
Some organizations are working together to creatively solve these challenges, such as Premier, Resilinc and Stanford Health Care developing an online supply exchange to help hospitals locate and exchange critical medical supplies among themselves. For example, a hospital can search for N95 face masks and offer hospital gowns in exchange. The plan is to ship supplies directly to hospitals and have the exchange available online soon, and enroll 2,000 hospitals by the end of April.