TRSA, the North American Linen, Uniform, and Facility Services Industry Association, last week briefed the Vice President of the United States office on the importance of reusable hygienic clean contact textiles for healthcare (HCT) in the supply chain and sustainability-
TRSA Vice President for Government Relations and Certification Kevin Schwalb and Joseph Ricci CAE, President and CEO of TRSA, shared Steve Pinkos, Vice President of the President and Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President, on Friday, April 17, on the importance of building a balanced Supply chain to mitigate the lack of PPE in healthcare, including the use of hygienically clean reusable healthcare contact textiles (HCTs) such as isolation and surgical gowns, scrubs, and other PPE.
"The industry will continue to provide key reusable PPE such as isolation and surgical gowns, scrubs, and other healthcare contact textiles to protect frontline medical workers and patients, and will have the ability to compensate for the lack of disposable HCTs," said Ricci .
After thanking VP for the recognition of the need for sustainable HCTs at the Coronavirus Task Force's daily press conference last Thursday, Ricci highlighted the industry's ability to deliver HCTs processed by Hygienically Clean Healthcare Certified laundries, and that Responding to the shortage, which also includes TRSA suppliers such as Medline, Standard Textiles, Milliken, Dickies, Aramark, 3M and others are trying to manufacture and process reusable PPE.
"TRSA members supply, wash, and maintain nearly 90% of healthcare contact textiles (HCT) such as bedding, scrubs, isolation, and surgical gowns in North America," Ricci said. "And we are now serving not only existing healthcare facilities, but also emergency response facilities that have been built for peak occupancy, including convention centers in New York and New Orleans. We have been working to deliver hygienically clean and safe reusable HCTs due to the lack of one-way alternatives."
Both sides agree that another shortcoming is likely with the return of electoral surgery, the opening of ambulance centers and medical offices across the country in the reopening of the economy. When asked how industry could help overcome these bottlenecks, Schwalb explained that "the obligation of health facilities to use and inventory a more balanced supply chain with at least 50% reusable HCTs" would encourage manufacturers to produce more sustainable, reusable PPE .
"We have not seen this level of bottlenecks worldwide," said Ricci. "Because they usually use a better balance between reusable and disposable products." In the United States, the market is dominated by less sustainable disposable products, with almost 90% of HCTs being disposable. Worldwide, the balance closer to 50/50 is reusable than available. "
"The ability of our industry to process hygienically clean, reusable HCTs provides a more sustainable and secure supply chain that can withstand fluctuations in healthcare demand while providing the same protection that one-way alternatives offer," said Ricci.
TRSA urged VP Pence to continue to emphasize the safety and sustainability of reusable HCTs, and recommended that health centers incentivize to increase the use and inventory of HCTs processed by Hygienically Clean Healthcare certified laundries by requesting CDC and CMS that Use a minimum usage to reimburse at least 50% of the reusable HCTs to reduce future demand for contact textiles for healthcare.
Pinkos thanked the industry for the extraordinary work it does to keep the critical infrastructure workforce and the country safe and moving. TRSA will continue to communicate and work with the Vice President's Office and Recovery Task Force to ensure that future bottlenecks are minimized by establishing a more diverse supply chain, including reusable HCT from the United States.