By Greg Burel, former SNS Director, and Linda Rouse O’Neill, HIDA Vice President of Government Affairs
The partnership between the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) strengthens our nation’s health security. As part of the U.S. Department of HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the SNS oversees and maintains the nation’s repository of emergency medical supplies in order to save lives and protect Americans from health security threats; that mission success is closely linked to the resiliency of the commercial supply chain.
“The results produced through the SNS and HIDA partnership have blazed a trail for public-private collaboration,” said Greg Burel, former SNS director who retired in January 2020. “The two organizations meet regularly to pressure-test our work, collaborate on more scenario-based playbooks, and expand product workgroups. The partnership also has served as a model for engaging other organizations and stakeholders that have a role in public health preparedness and response.”
Within ASPR, the SNS delivers the right products to the right place at the right time to secure the nation’s health, and partnerships are fundamental in ASPR’s approach to readiness and response. HIDA members represent the country’s medical product distributors – the nation’s essential link between manufacturers and patient caregivers.
“The success of the SNS/HIDA partnership is based on a strong commitment by both parties,” said Linda Rouse O’Neill, HIDA vice president of government affairs. “HIDA and its members recognize that responding effectively to save lives during a public health event needs both the federal resources from the SNS as well as the commercial market. Our partnership with SNS has facilitated regular, transparent dialogue that helps pre-event planning for better future responses. Together we can realize our shared goal of creating resilient communities by strengthening the healthcare supply chain.”
For more details on the SNS, visit phe.gov/SNS.
Regular open dialogue is critical
The SNS has hosted several workshops with HIDA that have led to better communication and collaboration among manufacturers and distributors in responding to emergencies and disasters.The open and transparent dialogue in these workshops identified market availability of ancillary supplies as related to specific needs generated from an unforeseen incident such as an aerosolized anthrax attack.
HIDA provided executive-level subject matter experts to share commercial supply chain manufacturing capacity, challenges, and industry requirements for ancillary supplies in the stockpile.As product availability is compared to manufacturing surge capacity and just-in-time inventories, the partnership facilitates better decision-making on what to purchase, how much to stockpile, and how best to collaborate in an effort to protect the supply chain and the public from an event.
Tangible deliverables are important
SNS and its commercial partners have put in many hours face-to-face to cement this partnership. While the intangible positive impact of these partnerships is great, the tangible results have been important to keep engagement high and demonstrate value of the partnership.
The anthrax playbook
The SNS produced the SNS Commercial Partner Playbook: Anthrax Response to provide important information to commercial medical supply chain partners about anthrax and SNS medical countermeasure distribution operations in the event of an inhalational anthrax incident. The playbook provides an overview of:
- The disease and associated symptoms
- Mechanisms for detection
- Proactive response actions
- Medical countermeasure requirements
- Response scenario example
- High-demand industry-specific medical products potentially needed to support a mass anthrax incident
- Federal response activities and actions that may be initiated to support public health
- Medical response efforts during an intentional anthrax emergency
The playbook is designed to help private partners better plan for and adjust their supply chain and inventory prior to and during a public health emergency requiring medical countermeasures from the SNS. This playbook is neither a document for procurement nor solicitation and is solely intended to support response preparedness activities. Periodic updates to this document will be made to reflect evolving changes to the strategic and operational environment.
HIDA mapping tool
The HIDA mapping tool creates opportunity for close public and private collaboration and coordination to respond to a public health event. The tool provides federal partners at ASPR the physical locations of commercial distribution partners and national aggregated data for IV solution products and more than 40 types of clinically appropriate needle/syringe product identified and validated with the SNS.
Accompanying the product inventory are education reports to provide additional market insights that will assist federal partners in understanding the commercial market information. (Funding and support provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, through the National Infrastructure Protection Program Security & Resilience Challenge, which is implemented by the National Institute for Homeland Security (NIHS).