Governor Pete Ricketts has provided an update to the State of Nebraska’s efforts to procure necessary supplies for health care facilities, cities, and counties to help combat COVID-19.  The Materiel Division within the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is responsible for the purchase of goods and services on behalf of the State.  The State is not merely supplying its own needs, but is also keeping local health care providers supplied by leveraging the buying power of the State.

“As we deal with the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve directed my administration to work with local governments to ensure we are providing needed relief to Nebraskans across the state,” said Governor Ricketts.  “We are listening to the needs of local officials, first responders, and medical professionals, and working to proactively provide them with what they need to confront this emergency.”

The State’s efforts have required significant interagency partnership between DAS, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Nebraska Army National Guard.  DHHS’s Division of Public Health works closely with local public health districts to understand the collective needs and prioritization of local health care providers.  Based on those needs, DAS procures needed supplies including N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, and gowns in bulk. 

The State is receiving deliveries of these goods daily.  After receipt of the goods, DAS partners with the Nebraska National Guard to distribute the materials to cities, counties, and local public health departments where they are needed throughout the state. 

“COVID-19 is not only a public health challenge, but is also an unprecedented supply and logistics challenge for local government entities,” said DAS Director Jason Jackson.  “By leveraging the infrastructure of State government, we can meet the needs of communities throughout Nebraska.”

Since the State took measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic in early March, Doug Carlson, State Chief Procurement Officer, has been connecting with Nebraska’s local city and county procurement professionals to best understand their supply needs to collectively combat COVID-19, while cultivating a network of reliable suppliers of critical medical supplies.  

Key to the success of the effort has been the development of a new network of government procurement professionals throughout the State.  DAS Materiel Division is also hosting weekly phone calls with hundreds of procurement professionals across the State to discuss supply chain updates, provide vendor information, and to share best practices.

“The State Procurement team has been working to assist Nebraska’s local municipalities and local public health departments in purchasing goods as well as connecting them and non-profit organizations with vendors who they would otherwise not have access to,” said Chief Procurement Officer Doug Carlson.

To date, the total amount of supplies that have been procured and distributed, including those received through the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), are: 

Face shields: 137,136 Hand sanitizer: 17,000 gallons N95 masks: 593,555 Surgical masks: 1,954,700 Hospital gowns: 83,508 Infrared thermometers: 4,500 Non-Latex gloves: 3,998,380 Shoe covers: 130,000

If you are a procurement representative from a Nebraska city or county and would like more information on how you can leverage the State’s procurement solutions, please contact DAS’s Materiel Division at as.materiel@nebraska.gov or 402-471-6500.

The State has also recently partnered with the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership to connect Nebraska manufacturers who can produce PPE with the medical community.  You can find more information about the partnership here.