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More Than 500 Jobs Filled at PPE Manufacturing Facility Near Lafayette – Biz New Orleans

by Arifa Rana

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NEW ORLEANS – From Ochsner Health and SafeSource Direct:
One year ago, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined SafeSource Direct CEO Justin Hollingsworth, Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas, and other officials to announce the development of two manufacturing facilities for personal protective equipment (PPE) in Broussard, La. Today, SafeSource Direct is up and running.
“We launched SafeSource Direct just 12 short months ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a solution to national PPE supply chain shortages, and now, we’re producing thousands of gloves, masks, and other PPE every day; and we’re continuously expanding,” said Hollingsworth. “We’re keeping our promise to bring jobs to the Acadiana Region while helping keep our nation’s healthcare and other essential workers safe on the job.”
SafeSource Direct has filled 550 new jobs and is increasing staffing in all areas. In total, Louisiana Economic Development projects the company will create some 2,200 total new direct and indirect jobs within the next two years. To help meet this demand, SafeSource Direct will be participating in the LEDA Job Fair at the Cajundome Convention Center in Lafayette on May 10 and hosting a job fair of its own at its headquarters (200 St Nazaire Road, Broussard, LA 70518) on May 18 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Ochsner Health partnered with Trax Development on a joint venture to create SafeSource Direct, making it the only U.S. provider-owned PPE manufacturer with U.S. provider-owned quality control.
“Challenging times spark innovation. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have pushed boundaries and thought creatively about how best to deliver on our commitment to our patients and our communities. Manufacturing PPE that we depend on is a prime example,” said Thomas. “We are proud to play a leading role in ensuring a high-quality and reliable PPE supply made in America. We owe it to Ochsner’s healthcare heroes and others across the country to ensure they have everything they need to keep themselves and their patients safe – now and in the future.”
Ochsner’s stake in SafeSource Direct is managed through Ochsner Ventures, which oversees investments in companies and venture capital funds as well as other diversified businesses that offer health solutions and that create new sources of revenue and value for the health system.
“SafeSource Direct is a prime example of our work to diversify ideas, opportunities and businesses that create a sustainable future for Ochsner Health and the communities we serve,” said Aimee Quirk, CEO, Ochsner Ventures. “Our portfolio companies are creating solutions to some of the biggest problems in healthcare, including improving America’s PPE supply resiliency.”
In SafeSource Direct’s nitrile glove plant, two lines are each producing around 27,000 gloves per hour. An additional 14 lines will become operational by early 2023. At that time, SafeSource Direct will be among the largest manufacturers of nitrile gloves in America. The non-woven material “SMS” plant is currently producing Level 1 and 3 surgical ear loop and surgical tie masks, standard three-ply procedure masks, shoe covers, and will soon be making N95 respirators, hair bouffants, and isolation gowns.
“Taking care of our patients and protecting our healthcare workers is our priority at Ochsner Health. At the onset of COVID, we realized that PPE was a precious commodity and we went through great lengths to conserve it wherever possible while at the same time keeping our patients and employees safe,” said Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Ochsner Health. “There is now a sense of relief to know that we will have PPE available to us in our own backyard, and it’s coming from a safe, reliable source. The products have been designed to meet the high-quality standards that we require to protect those caring for our patients. I am so grateful that Ochsner Health has taken this step to ensure that healthcare workers across the country will have the protection they need, so that we can focus on giving the very best care.”
 

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