Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, gloves, face shields, goggles, respirators, masks, or other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness. The demand for PPE in healthcare facilities has surged since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in PPE shortages and price increases.
The Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES) responded to the need for PPE by creating an online list of PPE vendors who DES purchased PPE from. This is not an endorsement and provides information about who the vendor is and what type of PPE was purchased.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves all PPE that is intended to be used as a medical device. This includes, but is not limited to, surgical masks, N95 respirators, medical gloves, and gowns. A vendor who wishes to sell PPE devices regulated by the FDA must apply to the FDA and provide specific information about the device before approval is granted. The FDA maintains a list of approved PPE vendors online.
DES must develop an online PPE vendor database where PPE vendors can request to be listed. Vendors must register to request to be listed on the database. After a vendor registers, DES must approve or deny the request. DES has the authority to approve or deny any vendor registration request.
Prior to approving a vendor, DES must vet each vendor to ensure the vendor is selling an approved form of PPE. While vetting a vendor, DES may check a vendor's state business license, FDA registrations, or any other source.
DES must publish a public online database of state-approved PPE vendors and list the vendors by product type. This database must be updated at least once a month by DES. After a vendor is approved and listed on the online database, the vendor must notify DES of any changes related to the PPE listed on the database or any changes in business ownership. DES may remove a vendor at any time if the vendor does not provide updated information about the listed PPE.
OTHER: PPE was hard for every industry during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This presented an unprecedented problem. This legislation proposes a database where anyone could find information out about PPE vendors. There are some proposed changes to this legislation.