The governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts announced Sunday that they will develop a regional supply chain for personal protective equipment, other medical equipment, and COVID-19 testing.
While the states will continue to partner with the federal government during the COVID-19 public health crisis, they will also work together to identify the entire region’s needs for products, aggregating needs among the states in order to reduce costs and stabilize the supply chain. The states will coordinate policies regarding the inventory of PPE that each state’s healthcare system should have in order to be prepared for a possible second wave of COVID-19. The states will also coordinate policies on what supplies local governments should have on hand for their first responders, and whether any requirements regarding PPE for the non-profit and private sector are needed.
The states will then seek to identify suppliers within the country, region or state that can scale to meet the demand of the entire region over the next three months. The goal of the strategy is to decrease the potential for disruptions in the supply chain for PPE and medical equipment — including sanitizers, ventilators, and testing — and promote regional economic development.
Officials are also discussing how to collectively explore emerging technologies on an ongoing basis to take advantage of the potential associated with alternative methods of production for existing products and innovation that would lead to more effective and possibly less expensive alternatives. For example, 3D Printers may be an attractive alternative to manufacturing certain personal protective equipment and medical products.
“Our states should never be in a position where we are actively competing against each other for life-saving resources,” New Jersey Governor Murphy said. “By working together across the region, we can obtain critical supplies as we begin the process to restart our economies, while also saving money for our taxpayers. This concept is at the heart of the regional approach we’ve established.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the COVID-19 pandemic created a mad scramble for medical equipment across the entire nation. “There was competition among states, private entities, and the federal government and we were driving up the prices of these critical resources,” Cuomo said. “As a state and as a nation, we can’t go through that again. We’re going to form a regional state purchasing consortium with our seven northeast partner states to increase our market power when we’re buying supplies and help us actually get the equipment at a better price. I want to thank our neighboring states for their ongoing support, generosity, and regional coordination on these important efforts.”