Kelsey Margheim and Maggie Hilty ship PPE for Avamere to communities in need during COVID-19

May 1, 2020


COVID-19 has put personal protective equipment (PPE) in high demand worldwide. The Avamere Family of Companies, a group of healthcare companies, continues to source and obtain large shipments of PPE.

Locating PPE

Avamere obtains PPE leads from several sources, including professional connections, businesses and organizations, colleagues, friends, and family.

The healthcare company recently obtained 122,800 3-ply face masks through a vendor in China after receiving a lead through the Young Presidents Organization, a non-profit organization which Avamere CEO Rick Miller is a member of. Avamere is also receiving a shipment of 10,000 N95 masks from the same vendor with no current estimated arrival.

Avamere staff Kelsey Margheim, Purchasing Manager, and Maggie Hilty, Vice President of Business Development, took the lead on sourcing and distributing PPE throughout The Avamere Family of Companies.

“Every time we got a lead from someone, Kelsey was on the phone tracking it down,” shared Ron Odermott, Avamere Chief Financial Officer.

During April 2020, Kelsey and Maggie distributed over 165 orders of PPE throughout The Avamere Family of Companies, including Avamere communities, Infinity Rehab sites, and Signature Healthcare at Home offices.

PPE donations

Avamere leaders and staff are thankful for generous PPE donations from many individuals and organizations. Avamere received 1,000 N95 masks from the Clackamas County Emergency Operations Center, the largest donation of N95 masks Avamere has received.

The healthcare company has also received donations from family and friends of employees, Cherry Digital Design, Henry Schein Dental, Intel, Jesuit High School, and the University of New Mexico, among many others.

Donations include a range of PPE, such as N95 masks, 3-ply masks, gloves, and even cloth masks.

“Many people have taken their evenings and weekends to sew masks and make face shields,” Kelsey stated. “We are so thankful to all our generous donors.”

Success amongst the challenges

Due to high demand, the search for PPE has its challenges.

Ron expressed one of these challenges was prioritization. Officials supplying PPE weren’t considering the post-acute care space as high of a priority as hospitals, putting an immense burden on skilled nursing facilities and senior living communities in an already challenging time.

Another obstacle is shipping delays. In fact, one of Avamere’s recent shipments of 1,500 oz. of sanitizer took eight weeks to arrive. Though shipping delays cause an obstacle, it’s a moment of success when the much-needed supplies arrive.

“When we get these large orders in, that’s a huge deal because it’s not easy to come by,” Maggie stated. “Anytime an order comes in the door is a success.”

Cost has been a third challenge of collecting PPE, rising along with COVID-19 pandemic from 3 cents up to as high as 85 cents for a 3-ply mask.

PPE costs have since plateaued, and Kelsey and Maggie work diligently to get the supplies needed at fair price.

Hardworking team behind the scenes

Kelsey and Maggie are working around-the-clock to ensure Avamere staff have what they need to do their job. The team of two is working seven days a week, even into the evenings, to obtain much-needed PPE.

“We always have to make ourselves available,” Kelsey shared.

As new moms of 11-month-old babies, the two are juggling mom life and work life all during a crisis.

“I appreciate the hard work and dedication of Kelsey and Maggie to be here every day tracking purchases and shipping of PPE,” Ron expressed. “They are true heroes in this battle against COVID-19.”

The continued search for PPE

Kelsey and Maggie report that while Avamere’s PPE is stock is significantly better than a few weeks ago, staff still have a strong need for PPE.

Though stock is limited, they encourage Avamere staff to keep requesting what’s necessary to provide care.

“I don’t want anyone to stop asking for what they really need, because if we don’t have it, we’ll do our best to get it,” Maggie stated. “If we don’t have it yesterday, we might have it today.”

Anyone with PPE leads can submit them at avamere.com. Follow Avamere on Facebook to keep up-to-date on more news on Avamere’s response to COVID-19.

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