Connect Live @ Adventist Health

Connect Live | March 10, 2022
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Live this week, host Joyce Newmyer welcomes Supply Chain Executive Justin Freed for an expert perspective on the global supply chain crisis, and the good and the bad news about how it's affecting us in healthcare and at home. Also, learn how Adventist Health is helping kids get safely to school in Northern Mexico and how a program at White Memorial creates the space to emotionally heal.

Joyce Newmyer: How do we talk to and with each other? How do we maybe do less telling, because communication isn't just about sharing information, it's a two-way street. How do we ask more questions?

Welcome to Connect Live at Adventist Health. I'm Joyce Newmyer, president of the Pacific Northwest Network at Adventist Health and your host for Connect Live. Live this week, bicycle donations, what's love got to do with it, and sacred space.

Bicycle donations – Adventist Health has partnered with World Vision International to provide dozens of bicycles for middle school and high school students in Northern Mexico. The bicycles that change lives project aims to reduce school dropout rates by providing bicycles for students to use for commuting to and from school. Over 350 bicycles have been delivered already, and there are plans for John Schroer, Global Mission Lead for Adventist Health to support another five donations this year. The donation from Adventist Health included a 26-foot cargo truck provided by Adventist Health and Rideout that will facilitate delivery of the bicycles as well as medical supplies for Adventist Health clinic partners throughout Northern Mexico. Thanks to the Office of Mission for this initiative with Adventist Health and Rideout. You can read the complete story, Opportunity on Wheels, at

Today, I'm delighted to welcome Justin Freed, the supply chain executive for Adventist Health. Justin, thanks for being with us today. I'm so glad that you agreed to come on Connect Live.

Justin Freed: Happy to be here and talk about our story in supply chain.

Joyce Newmyer: A great story you have. Help us understand situational awareness here. Why is there a global supply chain crisis?

Justin Freed: Well, in a simple word it's resources, but if you break down the resources, it's really broken down into four key areas. One is labor, the availability of people just manufacturing products, putting it together. As we've seen in our own country, the availability of labor is very difficult right now. You're seeing that globally, and it affects the supply chain. Secondly, it's raw material. Getting the raw material, the costs are going up for raw materials, and it is just becoming more expensive and difficult to produce. Third is really our domestic manufacturing history. We source a lot of products overseas, specifically China, and when we do that, there's longer supply times, lead times to get supplies. When there's a pandemic, it really, it adds up, it mounts on each other. What this country is trying to do in other countries is doing more domestic-based manufacturing so we mitigate any reliance on foreign supplies.

Lastly is just the blocking and tackling of transportation and distribution. As you can see in our own port of Los Angeles, there's multitudes of tankers carrying cargo, and they're just sitting out there with a backlog to unload. Then when they can unload, we're not getting the truckers to take those to where they need to go, and that covers not just healthcare supply chain, but our daily lives going to the markets, going to the malls, and all our consumer products. It really affects the multitude of things.

Joyce Newmyer: Justin, last night, my family and I went out to dinner to celebrate a birthday. When we walked in the restaurant, there was a chalkboard with a long list of things that they were out of and that were unavailable. It was a remarkable percentage of their menu. That's just one small way that we're seeing the global supply chain crisis show up, but how else are we affected in our daily lives? All of us, all of our viewers, what's this looking like on the daily?

Justin Freed: Yeah. Again, we can talk about inflation and the effects of that, but just again, going, trying to get a dishwasher or refrigerator, appliances, there's lead times that now are much longer than we ever thought. Even the manufacturers or vendors we buy them through can't give us concrete dates of when we expect these in. Again, it does really truly have a ripple effect in everything we buy and access, and it's impacting what we do in healthcare and what we experience every day consuming products and resources.

Joyce Newmyer: Early in this pandemic, right at the beginning, I remember all of our focus was on PPE, personal protective equipment, masks and gloves and gowns. We were actually reporting daily inventories of masks and figuring out how to ration them safely. What are the pain points that we face in healthcare today now that we're not hearing so much about PPE?

Justin Freed: Yeah. I still get PTSD thinking about the earlier days of the pandemic and trying to source PPE, and that lasted at least six to 12 months. Luckily, the supply chain did catch up with the demand because we saw demand like none other, and now we have plenty of PPE to protect our associates and our patients that we treat. That's the good news. We look at the products that we source during PPE. There was probably 10 to 20 key items, and so it was a very confined group of exam gloves, N95 masks, gowns, et cetera.

Now, what we're dealing with is a multitude. Instead of the 10 to 20 SKUs, we're dealing with hundreds and of SKUs that aren't even related to each other. They could be from heel warmers to epidural tubing to flush syringes. There's a variety of things, and it's really impacting what we do instead of trying to negotiate better pricing and just make sure we're stocked. It's trying to find substitutions or alternate products so we can counter the shortages that we're experiencing. It's really impacting…

Another example is just from a distribution perspective. We typically, historically see in the 98% fill rate on our orders, meaning when we order a hundred items, we get 98 of those back, which is pretty good. That's been industry standard the past five, 10-plus years. Right now, we're at an 85% fill rate, so you could see the impact. We're not getting 15 of the hundred items, and that is really a difficult thing, and it's really stretching our teams, but we're doing everything we can to mitigate that through partnerships and collaboration with clinicians and other leaders throughout the system.

Joyce Newmyer: You and I had an earlier conversation about the mission of Adventist Health, living God's love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope and how that relates to the supply chain. I know a lot of our viewers probably think about supply chain as just ordering all the things. You have a bit of a different take on that. Tell us, what's love got to do with it?

Justin Freed: Yeah. I think traditionally supply chain's been considered we're in the basement, we move boxes, we get supplies to and fro, and it is important job. Again, with the pandemic, the past two years, we've seen the visibility on supply chain grow. In supply chain, and at AH, we have a mantra as we fill the hands that care. If we don't do our jobs, it means our caregivers and associates can't do theirs. It's so important that we get the right product at the right price at the right time, in the right quantity to where it needs to be so our nurses, our techs, all of our associates can really focus, not on the supplies, but on treating the patients. Really, at the end of the day, that's what it's about is being stewards with our resources, being effective, and really partnering to fulfill our mission of the organization. That's really what we pride ourselves on and what we're trying to continue to grow and evolve into a world-class supply chain at Adventist Health.

Joyce Newmyer: I love that. People don't all always think about the fact that everyone from housekeeping, and nutritional services, and techs, and nurses, and physicians, everyone depends on having what they need in order to love and care for patients. Justin, thanks for bringing that to the forefront. Thanks for this discussion today and for continuing to connect your world of the supply chain with the love that we are committed to providing to our communities at Adventist Health.

Justin Freed: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Joyce Newmyer: Our final story today is Sacred Space. Angela Zuidema works in a sacred space, a place where those on the front lines of healthcare can talk about and heal from grief, anxiety, conflict and trauma. A licensed marriage and family therapist, she has worked with the associates and providers at Adventist Health White Memorial for 13 years, providing a service that helps them care for their emotional health so they can better care for others. To do this requires a sacred space of mutual trust, something we can all provide for each other. You can learn more about her story as well as many others

Friends, thanks for connecting live, and we'll see you here again next week. Until then, let's be a force for good.