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Navigating Vendor Access Amid Covid-19

created: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2020
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Vendor access policy trends

GHX Vendormate has analyzed information regarding COVID-19 related vendor policies throughout the US for healthcare facilities within the Vendormate network.

We’ve found that the most common policy implementation includes screening questions for symptoms, travel risks or potential contact with an infected individual, while COVID-19 testing is less often required. Personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required, but most policies are not stating specifics about N95 masks. 

Essential Vendors
Essential vendors may have access, but might require appointments

Fifty-two percent of the policies reviewed indicated that only essential vendors have access at this time and nine percent of policies indicate that appointments are required.

COVID-19 Screening
The most common policy requirement is COVID-19 screening

Thirty-nine percent of provider policies we reviewed have an on-location screening requirement. These requirements are most often self-reporting COVID-19 symptoms such as cough and loss of taste or smell prior to accessing the facility. Temperature checks may be self-reported or verified through infrared thermometer technology.

COVID-19 Testing
Only five percent of policies require COVID-19 testing

Due to timing and availability of testing, fewer providers are requiring viral (i.e. molecular or antigen) or serology (i.e. antibody) testing. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Twenty-six percent of vendor policies reviewed have a mask requirement

While seventy-four percent of COVID-19 related policies do not specifically call out mask requirements, twenty-six percent of the policies reviewed did note a mask requirement. Our data indicated slightly higher trends in the Midwest, Northeast and West. While policies may not specifically mention masks, it’s important to be prepared to comply with a hospital’s infection control guidelines, specific facility/department needs and state and local guidelines.

The analysis showed that seven percent of policies indicated that N95 masks may be required.

While most of the policies, ninety-six percent, did not specifically state who is providing the masks, three percent of providers state they are not providing N95 masks at this time. We also found that three percent allow N95 alternatives. Fit testing for N95 masks was documented in four percent of policies. Half of those requiring fit testing also provide the test, while half didn’t indicate if the test was provided.

In order to assure everyone is aligned on policies, it is recommended that providers be clear about what PPE is required, which locations (facilities and/or departments) require the PPE and who will provide. To assist in developing these clear policies, GHX Vendormate has provided a policy template on the GHX COVID-19 Info Center.

For vendors, please login to your Vendormate profile to stay up to date on your customer’s policies. Utilize the appointment feature to schedule time with your customers.

This document is meant to provide summary information only, based on GHX’s review of healthcare facility policies within our network and published information. Please ensure your policy is in alignment with your infection control guidelines, specific facility needs and state and local guidelines

About the analysis: The analysis is based on a national data set of 249 COVID-19 related health system vendor policies as of July 30, 2020.