Ballad Health officials released the following press release on May 26: 

  • Under the terms of the agreement, Ballad Health commits to purchase N95 and surgical masks from Prestige Ameritech, the nation’s largest domestic producer of face masks, as well as other personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Provides Ballad Health with an additional, U.S.-based supplier of PPE needed to protect healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other potentially infectious conditions.
  • Move represents a long-term strategy to support diverse and domestic suppliers, ensuring that a greater proportion of these products are produced in America and will be available in times of need.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Ballad Health and Premier Inc. today announced they have partnered with 15 leading health systems in America to acquire a minority stake in Prestige Ameritech, the largest domestic manufacturer of face masks, including N95 respirators and surgical masks.  Premier Inc., is the nation’s leading health improvement organization, and Ballad Health is one of America’s leading rural and non-urban integrated health systems.

In addition to the equity investment, Ballad Health will commit to purchase a portion of all masks they use annually from Prestige Ameritech for up to six years, inclusive of a three-year renewal option.

Ballad Health announced last week it has entered into a partnership with leading health systems and Premier Inc., for the purpose of innovatively diversifying the supply chain for its hospitals. Today’s announcement represents the first acquisition of this partnership. Other partner health systems include:

  • AdventHealth
  • Adventist Health
  • Advocate Aurora
  • Banner Health
  • Baptist Health South Florida
  • CommonSpirit
  • Genesis Health System
  • Henry Ford Health System
  • McLaren Health Care
  • Riverside
  • St. Luke’s University Health Network
  • Texas Health Resources
  • UHS
  • University Hospitals
  • UPMC

“Ballad Health is a true innovator, as they are the first to step up and commit to funding the long-term domestic manufacturing of healthcare products,” said Premier Inc President Michael J. Alkire. “This agreement and the added domestic supply it enables would not be possible without Ballad Health’s commitment.  Ballad Health deserves recognition for their leadership and for their real work to bring supplies back home to America.”

PPE products critical for the daily operations of health systems are overwhelmingly sourced overseas, with approximately 80 percent coming from China and Southeast Asia. The risks associated with this overreliance on Asia came into sharp focus twice this year, as the supply chain was disrupted when a manufacturing plant in China failed to meet FDA requirements for sterile gowns, and again most recently as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe.  During the pandemic, these nations closed borders and prevented U.S. access to supplies, triggering widespread shortages of products needed to protect healthcare workers. In contrast, Prestige Ameritech represents a primarily domestic supply chain, drawing raw materials and production capabilities from the United States. Prestige also does 100 percent of its business with U.S. customers.

“Overreliance on foreign manufacturers begs for innovation as we seek to diversify the supply chain, return more manufacturing to the United States, and ensure we can protect our team members, doctors and patients,” said Ballad Health Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Levine.  “With this long-term agreement, Ballad Health is breaking this cycle to fund American alternatives.”

“As COVID-19 proves, the United States is almost completely at the mercy of foreign nations for vital supplies,” said Dan Reese, Prestige Ameritech co-founder and CEO. “We are ready, willing and able to surge our U.S.-based production and help alleviate the national PPE shortage. With the long-term commitment from Ballad Health, we have certainty that allows us to invest in increased production.”

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.