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Coronavirus Government Health Care News

Delaware joins $5B regional PPE purchasing consortium

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Gov. John Carney addresses the economic recovery of the state in an April 21 press conference in Wilmington. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON – Delaware is joining six other Northeast states in forming a coalition to buy $5 billion in medical equipment, tests, and ventilators without having to compete against each other.

Delaware Gov. John Carney and three other governors joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his May 3 press conference when he announced that Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are launching a regional purchasing consortium to jointly get items, including personal protective equipment, tests, ventilators and other medical equipment.

Cuomo said the regional purchasing consortium will increase their collective market power and will help prevent price-gouging while “buying the things we need to improve [hospital] capacity.”

Carney said the initiative is important for a small state like Delaware that can’t go “head to head” with a state like New York, adding that he’s excited to be working shoulder-to-shoulder with the other states and seeing all the assets that the group is bringing to the table.

Carney drew praise from Cuomo after saying that the decisions about reopening will be “way harder” than what it took to shut the state down.

“Reopening is more of an art than flipping the switch,” Cuomo agreed. He later added that it’s “disrespectful to not wear a mask.”

Cuomo said the states cannot rely on the federal government to restock supplies in case of another pandemic and that he was requiring his state’s hospitals to build a 90-day supply of PPE equipment.

Delaware data indicates the state has more than two weeks worth of N95 masks, face shields and goggles and a one-to-two-week supply of isolation masks and surgical masks. It has a critical need for gowns, gloves and surgical masks with face shields.

“Working together regionally makes sense,” said Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of the state’s economic development agency Delaware Prosperity Partnership, who is one of three members of the team selected by Carney to represent the state on regional reopening planning group. “By working together as a region, we have a unique opportunity to stabilize the supply chain as we identify the greatest needs and aggregate demand. Regional sourcing may also result in new or increased opportunities to meet PPE demand for our region and possibly Delaware companies and employees. Doing this builds on the transitions already under way with global supply chains. From an economic development perspective, we may actually increase economic opportunity; less dollars spent elsewhere; and enhance economic activity in the region and Delaware.”

By Peter Osborne

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