Prisma Health Receives Approximately 1.5M Surgical Masks from China Thanks to Boeing Collaboration
Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
Thanks to a collaboration with Boeing, Prisma Health was able to receive its shipment of approximately 1.5 million surgical masks directly from China to Greenville, bypassing extensive delays as well as eliminating shipping costs. Prisma Health purchased the masks in late March but was unable to quickly move the shipment out of China.
Sunday’s delivery is the largest single personal protective equipment delivery made to healthcare providers by Boeing as part of its national pandemic response.
”It’s a win-win for South Carolina healthcare providers and a perfect example of private companies working with elected officials to help healthcare workers and the people they serve,” said Mark O’Halla, president and chief executive officer of Prisma Health. “We very much appreciate Boeing’s support during these challenging times of securing necessary supplies. By standing together, we all stand stronger.”
“In recognition of Boeing’s delivery of our supplies, we are donating 100,000 of these masks to our colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina, which is located near Boeing’s manufacturing plant,” said O’Halla.
Prisma Health, which already has pandemic supplies and has been aggressively ramping up its supply inventory since January, will use its surgical masks as part of its proactive universal masking of all patients, employees and visitors.
“This partnership demonstrates the truly cooperative spirit of South Carolina, and our people will be better because of it,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “When a South Carolinian is in need, their neighbors are there to lend a helping hand, and today we’re seeing that our businesses have embodied those unique characteristics.”
“Boeing is proud to be part of this historic flight to bring vital PPE to healthcare workers across South Carolina,” said Dave Calhoun, president and CEO, Boeing. “I want to offer my personal thanks to the Boeing team and our Atlas Air partners for what they’ve done to support this essential mission and ensure our frontline healthcare workers have the equipment they critically need.”
Added Sen. Lindsey Graham, “We owe it to our men and women on the frontlines of our healthcare system to have the necessary resources to fight the COVID-19 virus. I want to thank Prisma Health, Discommon, Atlas Air and Boeing for stepping up to facilitate this important shipment of medical masks to South Carolina.”
Said Sen. Tim Scott, “We will never be able to thank our frontline healthcare workers enough for the amazing work they have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They are putting their lives on the line every single day to help others, and it is absolutely critical they have the Personal Protective Equipment necessary to do their jobs as safely as possible. I am thrilled that Prisma Health will now have access to more than 1.5 million medical-grade masks to distribute throughout their facilities in South Carolina, and want to thank everyone involved in this unique public-private partnership for making this happen. It will truly make a difference.”
“Prisma Health constantly works to secure new supplies,” said Chad Richard, executive director of supply chain for Prisma Health. “We finalized the contract in late March but were unable to quickly move the shipment out of China. “While we already had a good supply of masks and have smaller shipments coming in on a regular basis, we were eager to get that shipment here since, by itself, it could serve our system’s needs for approximately four weeks.”
Critical to this supply-chain solution was Greenville resident Neil Ferrier, owner of design firm Discommon, the importer of record for the delivery. Ferrier had reached out to Prisma Health – through U.S. Rep. William Timmons – to offer his help with securing additional masks. He then sourced the masks from trusted manufacturers in China and turned to Boeing and Atlas Air to facilitate their transport to Prisma Health, which ordered the supplies.
“When I realized that obtaining masks was a huge issue for healthcare systems, I realized that I was in a unique position to make a difference,” said Ferrier. Because of his connections at Clemson University, the Clemson alumnus was also able to connect Prisma Health to Boeing.
“I’m incredibly grateful to be part of this project – the wild path to getting here is movie-worthy,” said Ferrier. “While every step of this logistics process has been incredibly daunting, Boeing and Atlas Air have been astonishing throughout, with both companies 100% committed to making today’s transport mission possible. It’s incredible that South Carolina has the backing of companies that can lend their vital transportation logistics support to this very complex challenge. Although this project isn’t in our typical wheelhouse of industrial design and manufacturing, the ultimate goal of design is to solve problems beautifully, and we’ve all come together to do just that.”
“Today, we proudly welcome Boeing and Atlas Air to Greenville,” said Timmons. “When I was first approached by Discommon in Greenville, I knew these masks would make a huge difference for our health care workers at Prisma Health who are on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. We immediately got to work to make this happen. Today’s delivery showcases the good that can be done when businesses, non-profits, and the government join together. This PPE will go a long way for folks here in the Upstate and across the Midlands.”
Said U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, “Today’s delivery of medical masks for Prisma Health is tremendous news! The entire Palmetto State is thankful to Boeing, Atlas Air and Discommon Concepts for making this shipment a reality in order to equip our medical personnel during these unprecedented times. It’s partnerships like these led by companies in South Carolina that will ensure we are fully prepared to defeat COVID-19.”