It’s Time to Assess Your PPE Needs

From the Texas Medical Association

The Texas Medical Association PPE Portal is your tool to inform state-managed warehouses how much personal protective equipment (PPE) your practice needs. 

As long as you need PPE, use this link to the PPE Portal to refresh your data once per week per practice. These data inform distributors about how much PPE you currently have on hand and how much you use each day.

The PPE Portal is available only for licensed Texas physicians (and nursing homes and home health professionals) who are not hospital-based and who cannot obtain PPE through other channels. The PPE Portal is NOT an order form. Because of the limited supplies and uneven distribution of the PPE, there is no guarantee individual practices will get all – or even some – of what they need.

The data you submit to the TMA PPE Portal are sent to the state’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) partners and Regional Advisory Councils (RACs). The state purchases PPE throughout the worldwide supply chain. The HPPs and RACs are responsible for distributing it. They ship PPE allocated for physicians within their regions to local county medical societies, who then distribute it to individual physician practices. The PPE you receive from the RAC or HPP through the TMA PPE Portal will be free.

A local county medical society or state warehouse will contact you when and if PPE is ready for you to pick up.

If you are not the person who keeps track of this information for your practice, please share this email (with your personal PPE Portal link above) with the staff member or other physician who will enter it for your practice. Please report PPE usage by all staff who regularly need it to interact with patients, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and support staff. Coordinate within your practice to make sure it submits only one response, even if your practice has multiple locations.

For more details, see TMA’s updated PPE Distribution FAQ document and check our PPE Status by County webpage

PPE Distributed to Fort Worth-Area Physicians

By David Doolittle

Originally published on the Texas Medical Association website.

Some North Texas physicians are about to receive desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE) thanks to a partnership between the Texas Medical Association, the Tarrant County Medical Society, and the North Texas Regional Advisory Council (RAC).

The county medical society received a shipment of PPE from the RAC on Saturday that will be distributed to area physicians based on their practices’ needs, CEO Brian Swift said.

“This has been a team effort – everyone from the TMA, the RACs, and the doctors’ offices – to get these supplies where they need to go,” Mr. Swift said. “In North Texas, it’s been tough sledding for weeks, but it’s finally getting worked out.”

The collaboration, which began last week, is part of an effort to distribute PPE to the state’s community physicians, who have grown increasingly desperate for the protective equipment they need to care safely for patients.

Under the program, physicians indicate their PPE needs through an online portal created by TMA, which will forward that data regularly through eight designated Hospital Preparedness Programs (HPPs) and RACs. The RACS and HPPs will make the supplies available for county medical societies and other organizations to distribute.

That’s what happened Saturday, when Mr. Swift received word that the North Texas RAC in Arlington had PPE available for physicians in Tarrant County, as well as nearby Parker and Johnson counties.

“I rented a U-Haul van, drove to Arlington and pulled up to the RAC,” Mr. Swift said. “There were two National Guard guys there who helped me load the PPE. I drove it back to our headquarters and returned the truck. It took about three hours total.”

The supplies include K95 masks, surgical masks, and face shields, which will be added to several thousand N95 and surgical masks that MedStar Ambulance service donated to the society a few weeks ago, Mr. Swift said.

Society officials have been contacting area physicians with instructions on when and how to pick up the PPE, he said.

“They’re just grateful, the staffs, the nurses, they’re excited to have it,” he said. “It’s great because we get to meet a bunch of new people.”

The portal is not a PPE order form. The amount and type of PPE in state warehouses varies each week. Submitting a form does not guarantee practices will receive supplies. Physicians whose data indicates a need for PPE will be placed on a distribution list to receive supplies as they become available.

To ensure each practice submits only one set of data to the PPE Portal, not all Texas physicians have received personalized login credentials. If you did not receive the credentials via email, check with your practice manager or the lead physician in your practice. Practices with multiple locations are considered a single practice. If it appears that no physician at your practice received the credentials, please contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or by email.

For more details, see the TMA PPE Distribution Q&A document.

Remember, you can find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.

Help TMA Get PPE to Your Practice

As the Texas Medical Association told you Monday, personal protective equipment (PPE) will begin to move more quickly from state-managed warehouses to Texas county medical societies and on to private practice, community care physicians.

The movement of PPE, including N95 masks, is possible through an extensive collaboration among TMA, county medical societies, and a host of other associations and state agencies.

But we need your help.

Check your email today for a personalized link to the new TMA PPE Portal, which will include a needs assessment form for your practice. The form asks you to report your daily use of N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, gowns, face shields, booties, and sanitizer. Only one email was sent to each practice.

Find more information, including who can request PPE through the portal, how much it will cost (spoiler alert: it’s free), quality control, and how to identify your Regional Advisory Council (RAC), in TMA’s latest PPE frequently asked questions (FAQ) document.

Remember that the portal is not a PPE order form. The Hospital Preparedness Programs (HPPs) and RACs will use the data to allocate a share of available PPE to county medical societies. The county societies will use the data and guidelines developed by a TMA work group to distribute PPE to community physicians.

“The RACs and HPPs are all independent organizations, and all operate differently. Thanks to the strong support of Chief Nim Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, everyone is working much better to meet the PPE needs of community physicians,” TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said. “We very much appreciate the assistance of Chief Kidd and the RACs.”

You can also find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.

TCMS Gets Limited Donation of PPE

A number of physicians are struggling to get appropriate PPE for their healthcare teams due to shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. TCMS has received a small donation of PPE from MedStar and is dispersing it to some of our members that are currently seeing patients daily without appropriate protective gear. Thank you, MedStar, for donating to support physicians at this critical time. We are hoping that we continue to receive PPE donations to protect our community’s healthcare workers. To donate or find out more information, contact us at 817-732-2825.

Greg Phillips, MD, and Anita King, RN, reviving N95 masks.
Purnachander Sirikonda, MD, 15 N95 masks for his staff of five.

DFW Small Business Owners Make Critical PPE with 3D Printer

Joshua and Kaytlyn Peterson of JP Tek Services in Fort Worth donated 96 face masks to Tarrant County Medical Society for distribution to doctors’ offices that continue seeing patients in person. These masks were printed on the Petersons’ 3D printer in their home using all the materials they had in immediate supply.

“The physicians of Tarrant County Medical Society appreciate the thoughtfulness of the Petersons,” says Brian Swift, Executive Vice President and CEO of Tarrant County Medical Society. “We want to be able to support our private physician practices who are still seeing patients every day and this this act of kindness is appreciated. We appreciate any and all donations of PPE.”

Materials to make up to 600 additional masks are en route to the Petersons. “The bottleneck is the printing time,” says Joshua. “It takes one hour to create two masks.”

In a JP Tek Services Facebook plea, Peterson implores those with supplies and printers to join him in supplying Tarrant County with as many masks as possible. The supplies needed are PETG filament and 8.5×11 transparency film. With this style of mask, the visor frame is able to be sanitized and reused, so other filament types will not hold up. The transparency film can also be sanitized and reused or replaced as needed.

“We can only produce so many masks, so we hope that others will see what we are doing and join us,” says Joshua. “We just want to do anything we can to help.”

The full specifications, including the downloadable pattern, can be found on the JP Tek Services Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JP-Tek-Services-113320616983061/.

AMA President-Elect Dr. Susan Bailey on PPE Shoratges and Social Distancing

Watch NBC5’s interview with TCMS member Dr. Susan Bailey, AMA’s president-elect, about PPE shortages, how they may impact our local community, and the importance of staying at home. Dr. Bailey is an allergist/immunologist practicing in Fort Worth, TX. This was originally posted on 3/25/20.