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Is Supply Chain Management the Next Victim of COVID-19? (Opinion)

A question we need answers to…

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Let’s start with the biggest myth in supply chain management for COVID-19 medical supplies, “The warehouses are full of material just waiting on an order.” Not true. Just recently, I was on a phone call with a company that has been in the supply chain management business for medical supplies for 10 years, and they told me that they were talking about a possible order for 10 million N95 masks. On the call were 12 brokers who all wanted a piece of the deal and 4 law firms who also wanted a part of the business. The phone call ended because the supplier, in reviewing the financial demands of all the players, had to raise the price to what he considered to be a gouging price. He turned down the deal because he did not want to sullen his reputation, and to boot, the phone call cost him over $4,000.

I spoke to a supplier that I have been working with for years in getting MP3 systems from China for my “Songs and Stories for Soldiers Foundation.” I asked him if he could get N95 masks. He said, “Do not let anybody tell you they have what you need in their warehouse, because they are lying to you. I can take your order and put you in line with the rest of the companies, and based on our backlog and pending orders, it will take at least 3 weeks, perhaps even longer to get you the items you want.”

We hear about all the stories as to the tens of millions of masks ordered, but the lead time is getting longer and longer. In many cases, orders placed in early March are only now shipping. We hear the officials tell us that they have ordered millions of masks, but the reality is that the whole world is ordering masks and other supplies. In fact, the world is really short of critical supplies.

Now think about the hospitals, both public and private, the state and local governments, and the Veterans Administration, all wanting medical materials. I made a call to one of my VA contacts, and he told me that his procurement staff is working 14 to 16 hours a day trying to find supplies. As the pandemic expands, the need for ever-increasing supplies puts exploding pressure on the procurement staffs of all the agencies and health centers. My concern is that this important part of the supply chain is becoming more and more exhausted, both physically and mentally, in the desperate searches to find supplies.

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If the people who order and distribute the needed supplies can’t function, then they put the entire healthcare system and, in turn, us in danger. The longer the pandemic continues, I have real apprehension as to the risk of the supply chain failing. Recently, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) issued a comprehensive report on the dangers in the supply chain.

A recent article in the New York Times entitled, “At War With No Ammo: Doctors Say Shortage of Protective Gear Is Dire.” One hospital may be breaking the ice and admitting it is taking too much risk for the medical staff and the patients. The Open Cities Community Health Center in St. Paul, MN, is considering shutting down because it doesn’t have enough face masks.

“There’s absolutely no way to protect myself,” said Dr. Faezah A. Bux, an anesthesiologist in central Kentucky, who in recent days had to intubate several elderly patients in respiratory distress without the respirator masks and protective eye gear. 

One of the things that make the purchasing of medical supplies expensive and very time consuming is the explosion of brokers. As discussed in our example in the first paragraph, there were 12 brokers in the deal. Examples abound of the numbers of shady middlemen who only have been in the business for scant weeks and who are looking to make a quick buck, or should I say millions. The market is rife with phantom shipments, prices soaring by the hour, and goods even flown in on private planes.

What sounds like an organized-crime thriller in this pandemic is now the new reality for governors desperately trying to find the medical equipment their states need. With the federal stockpile dwindling fast, and the Trump administration limiting access to what’s left, state leaders are going to extraordinary measures on their own to secure face masks, ventilators, gloves, and other equipment essential to fighting the outbreak.

These public officials have ventured into a global market-place one governor described as the “wild, wild west,” where they compete against each other and their own federal government. They’ve watched the price of ventilators double, and masks go for 10 times their original price. Every time you add a middleman, you add to the cost of the product. It is the middlemen that are continually pressuring the procurement personnel, wearing them down until they accept the exorbitant prices.

As we head into what the president has described as the most challenging time ahead of us, we need to stop for a moment and look at how we are buying what we need. My greatest fear is the unscrupulous broker who is demanding millions of dollars of down payments and who will never deliver the goods and could very well escape with millions of public money.

I understand that all of our governments want to do the best they can for Americans. However, the harder they push to buy these needed materials, the more danger there is for them effectively to do their jobs. The job of procurement is not something where one can go to the local temp agency and get a replacement. I think procurement managers need to look at more alternatives including more scrutiny in securing medical supplies. In the next installment I will have some suggestion on supply chain management that won’t include 12 brokers.

Dan Perkins is a published author of 4 novels on nuclear and biological terrorism against the United States and is a current events commentator for over 20 news blogs. He appears on radio and TV between 40 and 60 times a month, depending on the news cycles, and on about 1,400 radio stations and TV networks. He is either a guest host or host on 4 weekly syndicated talk shows. Dan’s newest show is called “America’s Cannabis Conversation” on the W420radionetwork.com, a new show that broadcasts Saturday each week at 4:20 PM local time. More information on Perkins can be found at his web site danperkins.guru.

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School Shooter’s Parents Charged After Deadly Rampage

Their gun storage situation appeared to be completely unconscionable.

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The proclivity of school shootings in the United States has a different impetus for just about everyone you’d ask.

Some, like those on the far left, believe that these things are the fault of guns.  As though their mere presence somehow entices a person to commit mass murder.  Others blame pop culture, often pointing to violent video games and movies.

And then there are those who blame the parents, suggesting that a child raised right would respect human life at a level unbecoming of a massacre-ist.  This theory is about to get tested legally.

The parents of the teen suspect accused of killing four students after opening fire inside a Michigan high school earlier this week are now facing involuntary manslaughter charges as prosecutors on Friday revealed text messages allegedly sent to their son before and after the attack.

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James and Jennifer Crumbley are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald. Their son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, allegedly fired at least 30 rounds in the hallways of Oxford High School on Tuesday, killing four classmates and injuring seven others, including a teacher.

McDonald did not mince her words.

“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on November 30 and it is my intention to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald told reporters during a press conference. “It’s imperative we prevent this from happening again. No other parent or community should have to live through this nightmare.”

The weapon was retrieved by their son from an unlocked drawer in the home – an egregious ignorance of common sense gun safety measures.

The proclivity of school shootings in the United States has a different impetus for just about everyone you’d ask. Some, like those on the far left, believe that these things are the fault of guns.  As though their mere presence somehow entices a person to commit mass murder.  Others blame pop culture, often pointing to violent video games and movies. And then there are those who blame the parents, suggesting that a child raised right would respect human life at a level unbecoming of a massacre-ist.  This theory is about to get tested legally. The parents of the teen suspect accused of killing four students after opening fire inside a Michigan high school earlier this week are now facing involuntary manslaughter charges as prosecutors on Friday revealed text messages allegedly sent to their son before and after the attack. James and Jennifer Crumbley are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald. Their son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, allegedly fired at least 30 rounds in the hallways of Oxford High School on Tuesday, killing four classmates and injuring seven others, including a teacher. McDonald did not mince her words. “While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on November 30 and it is my intention to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald told reporters during a press conference. “It’s imperative we prevent this from happening again. No other parent or community should have to live through this nightmare.” The weapon was retrieved by their son from an unlocked drawer in the home – an egregious ignorance of common sense gun safety measures.

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Baldwin Makes Wild Claim: He Never Pulled the Trigger in ‘Rust’ Shooting

Lawyers are now going to have to prove, without video evidence, that Baldwin never fingered the trigger.

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For weeks now, speculation has swirled about a shooting that occurred on the movie ‘Rust’, in which Hollywood A-lister Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halya Hutchins with a live round that should never have been on set in the first place.

Now, almost unbelievably, Baldwin has claimed that he never actually pulled the trigger.

The first preview for the ABC News sit-down sees Baldwin breaking down in tears as he talks about cinematographer Halyna Hutchins being fatally shot with a prop gun on Oct. 21.

The real surprise, however, was George Stephanopoulos asking why he fired the gun when it wasn’t in the script and Baldwin replied, “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”

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So he never pulled the trigger? “No, no, no, no,” Baldwin answered. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never.” But there was no explanation beyond that.

Baldwin also said he had “no idea” how a live bullet got onto the set of the film, which he not only starred in but produced.

The revelation was not terribly well received by the media however, who had a hard time understanding just what Baldwin’s claim could mean, especially with the understanding that the cameras were not rolling at the time of the shooting, as the actor was merely rehearsing drawing his single action revolver.

For weeks now, speculation has swirled about a shooting that occurred on the movie ‘Rust’, in which Hollywood A-lister Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halya Hutchins with a live round that should never have been on set in the first place. Now, almost unbelievably, Baldwin has claimed that he never actually pulled the trigger. The first preview for the ABC News sit-down sees Baldwin breaking down in tears as he talks about cinematographer Halyna Hutchins being fatally shot with a prop gun on Oct. 21. The real surprise, however, was George Stephanopoulos asking why he fired the gun when it wasn’t in the script and Baldwin replied, “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.” So he never pulled the trigger? “No, no, no, no,” Baldwin answered. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never.” But there was no explanation beyond that. Baldwin also said he had “no idea” how a live bullet got onto the set of the film, which he not only starred in but produced. The revelation was not terribly well received by the media however, who had a hard time understanding just what Baldwin’s claim could mean, especially with the understanding that the cameras were not rolling at the time of the shooting, as the actor was merely rehearsing drawing his single action revolver.

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