8/6/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Bright Spot: PPE Team

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Good morning, IDHS Staff:

The safety and well-being of our staff, residents, and patients is, and has always been, a top priority. As COVID-19 began to impact our communities, we assembled a dynamic team to ensure that our facilities were well prepared to handle the emergence of the pandemic. Today's Bright Spot highlights our Facilities & PPE Team.

With leadership from Operations Program Manager Alvin Schexnider, the Personal Protective Equipment Team (PPE Team) was conceived. Designed as a central collaborative team responsible for sharing key information, usage protocol, and inventory management, the team met every day in March, including weekends, to manage supply needs, address gaps, and distribute PPE to IDHS' 24/7 facilities. In addition, they worked with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the IDHS Infection Control Team to ensure alignment on proper usage and quantity/inventory control.

Their work has not been easy. The COVID-19 pandemic and demand for PPE have been disruptive to the market, presenting opportunities for malicious business practices on a global scale. With competition and a lack of regulation in place around PPE, organizations have found themselves on the receiving end of a wide range of experiences: unloading shipments that did not meet order specifications, or designing creative solutions to meet facility needs. However, with a vetting process in place, the PPE Team has been successful.

Like many teams, Alvin has not been alone in this work. The PPE Team includes more than 20 professionals, including Francisco DuPrey, Amy Dickenson-Ferguson, Joe Gasparich, Jean Sandstrom, Brad Koechle, Susan Elliott, Jason Cochran, Deb Muhlstahdt, Natalie Katauski, Dr. Bronwyn Rains, Dr. Brad Hughes, Jim Stavrou, Paul Hartman, Mary Spriggs-Ploessl, and Kelsie Vose.

Thank you to the PPE Team for the time you have sacrificed in research, inventory management, and the wide range of support you have provided to keep our staff, residents, and patients safe.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS