How a Missouri ASC is solving supply chain challenges: Q&A with administrator Andrew Lovewell

Columbia, Mo.-based Surgical Center at Columbia Orthopaedic Group administrator Andrew Lovewell recently spoke to Becker's ASC Review about tackling supply chain challenges.

Question: What are your top supply chain challenges today?

Andrew Lovewell: One of the biggest challenges that we are facing today is the delivery of back-ordered products and the overall health of the supply chain. For example: gloves, gowns or masks that were ordered to protect staff and patients are being produced and shipped out, but it seems other general supplies may have been pushed to the backburner. We have found the best way to combat all of this is clear, open, transparent communication with all stakeholders on what is needed, what is here, what is back-ordered, etc. Many of our staff and surgeons have been extremely open to change during these trying times, and it helps that we are all unified with a common goal to protect our patients.

Q: Is it easier or harder to work with supply and implant vendors than before the pandemic? 

Mr. Lovewell: I wouldn't say that it is harder or easier to work with supply and implant vendors today, just different. As an orthopedic-focused ASC, we have continued to operate at a very limited capacity on urgent and semi-emergent surgeries during the pandemic. I think that was one of our largest strengths. Since we did not fully shut down, we didn't have to go back through the process of starting back up. Many of our vendors did have raw material issues, just due to the nature of what we are experiencing. However, it was uplifting to see competitive companies working together to streamline delivery of supplies and implants so we can take care of each individual patient. The pandemic has most certainly taught us that creativity and innovation are still a must in the healthcare world. 

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