CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), a leading healthcare improvement company, and 15 leading health systems acquired a minority stake in Prestige Ameritech, the largest domestic manufacturer of face masks, including N95 respirators and surgical masks.
Under the agreement, Premier members including St. Luke’s University Health Network based in Bethlehem, Pa., commit to purchase a portion of all face masks they use annually from Prestige Ameritech for up to six years, inclusive of a three-year renewal option.
The arrangement with Prestige Ameritech is part of Premier’s newly announced strategy to work with members to invest in domestic and geographically diverse suppliers of PPE and other medical equipment currently in shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PPE products critical for the daily operations of health systems are overwhelmingly sourced overseas, with approximately 80 percent coming from China and Southeast Asia. The risks of this overreliance on Asia came into sharp focus as COVID-19 swept across the globe and these nations closed borders and prevented U.S. access to supplies, triggering widespread shortages of PPE needed to protect healthcare workers and patients. In contrast, Prestige Ameritech represents a domestic supply chain, with production completed in the United States. Prestige also sells 100 percent of its products to U.S. customers.
“With past outbreaks such as SARS, H1N1 and Ebola, the nation talked about domestic manufacturing and expanding supply sources as the keys to preventing shortages, only to return to the same overleveraged overseas markets once the crisis was over,” said Premier President Michael J. Alkire. “This move is the latest step in our long-term commitment to changing the way we source critical products so that we never again experience shortages as a result of overreliance. Our economic prosperity can no longer be tied to things we buy – it must also come from things we make.”
“As COVID-19 proves, the United States is almost completely at the mercy of foreign nations for vital supplies,” said Dan Reese, Prestige Ameritech co-founder and CEO. “Diverse and on-shore manufacturing of critical healthcare products is clearly a national security issue. With this agreement, we have long-term, multi-year commitments that give us certainty and allow us to dedicate our resources to increase production. Not only does that help us today with COVID-19, but long-term commitments also create economies of scale for when we return to business as usual.”
In addition to St. Luke’s, Premier members participating in the initial investment include AdventHealth (Altamonte Springs, FL), Adventist Health (Roseville, CA), Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, IL, and Milwaukee, WI), Ballad Health (Johnson City, TN), Banner Health (Phoenix, AZ), Baptist Health South Florida (Miami, FL), CommonSpirit Health (Chicago, IL), Genesis Health System (Davenport, IA), Henry Ford Health System (Detroit, MI), McLaren Health Care (Grand Blanc, MI), Riverside Health System (Newport News, VA), Texas Health Resources (Arlington, TX), Universal Health Services, Inc. (King of Prussia, PA) and University Hospitals (Cleveland, OH).
“These members are true innovators, as they are the first to step up and fund the long-term domestic manufacturing of healthcare products,” continued Alkire. “This agreement and the added domestic supply it enables would not be possible without their commitments. Each one deserves recognition for its leadership and for its work to bring supplies back home to America.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
About Premier, Inc.
Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of more than 4,000 U.S. hospitals and health systems and approximately 175,000 other providers and organizations to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and consulting and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit Premier’s news and investor sites on www.premierinc.com; as well as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Premier’s blog for more information about the company.
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke's University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 15,000 employees providing services at 11 hospitals and 300 outpatient sites. With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke's is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke's created the Lehigh Valley's first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 34 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 263 residents and fellows. St. Luke's is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system with Medicare’s five- and four-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital. In 2019, three of IBM Watson Health's 100 Top Hospitals were St. Luke's hospitals. St. Luke's University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health seven times total and five years in a row. St. Luke's has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN's information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke's is also recognized as one of the state's lowest cost providers.