Newport News, Va. – Riverside Health System partnered with Premier Inc., a leading health care improvement company, to acquire a minority stake in Prestige Ameritech, the largest domestic manufacturer of face masks, including N95 respirators and surgical masks.

In addition to the investment, Riverside will commit to purchase a portion of all masks they use annually from Prestige Ameritech for up to six years, inclusive of a three-year renewal option.

“Through forward planning, the Riverside Health System supply chain team has been able to meet the demand for PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Riverside CEO Bill Downey. “This long-term agreement gives us the opportunity to create even more diversity and strength in our supply chain – further ensuring that our workforce has the supplies they need to stay safe, healthy and able to provide quality care for the patients that count on us.”

Personal protective equipment (PPE) products critical for the daily operations of health systems are overwhelmingly sourced overseas, with approximately 80% coming from China and Southeast Asia. The risks associated with this overreliance on Asia came into sharp focus earlier this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe and these nations closed borders and prevented U.S. access to supplies, triggering widespread shortages of products needed to protect health care workers.

In contrast, Prestige Ameritech represents a primarily domestic supply chain, drawing raw materials and production capabilities from the United States. Prestige also does 100% of its business with U.S. customers.

“Recent events have put the availability of critical supplies like PPE in the national spotlight, but it’s a topic that is always top-of-mind for Riverside,” Downey said. “We are proud of our team’s ability to manage PPE resources and excited to be partnering with firms like Premier and Prestige Ameritech on smart, domestic-focused procurement initiatives that boost supply capacity.”

The long-term commitment from Riverside allows Prestige Ameritech to invest in increased production, leadership said.

“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. “We are ready, willing and able to surge our U.S.-based production and help alleviate the national PPE shortage.”

“Riverside is a true innovator, as they are the first to step up and commit to funding the long-term domestic manufacturing of healthcare products,” said Premier Inc. President Michael J. Alkire. “This agreement and the added domestic supply it enables would not be possible without Riverside commitment. Riverside deserves recognition for their leadership and for their real work to bring supplies back home to America.”

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Published: May 26, 2020