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news News Friday, May 15, 2020 Friday, May 15, 2020 8:52 AM - Friday, May 15, 2020 8:52 AM

Spotlight on supply chain management team

Spotlight on supply chain management team

Supply chain management is integral to the efficient operation of a hospital. Department employees are responsible for stocking the facility with everything from disinfecting cleaning supplies to patient care essentials. A low inventory could affect a hospital staff's ability to care for patients. That is why supply chain employees are so vital to the success of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston.

Meet Nancy:

Nancy Miller has been the regional director of supply chain management for the Boston and Springfield Shriners Hospitals since 2016. Nancy and her team ensure that all staff, from our doctors and nurses to environmental services professionals, have what they need to care for our patients. Nancy and her team work with vendors to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Everything must meet industry standards for safety and quality. Keeping a careful inventory and monitoring supply availability is essential to maintaining hospital operations.

With the urgency of COVID-19 affecting the supply chain throughout the nation and the world, supply chain management is working harder than ever to ensure that the Boston Shriners Hospital has the equipment necessary to protect our patients, families and staff. A universal mask policy is in effect and everyone must wear one in the hospital. Daily usage has increased, and supply chain staff members are effectively managing this new demand – making sure the hospital has enough PPE, including the important N95 masks that protect our front-line health care workers.

Nancy is one of the Boston Shriners Hospital’s liaisons to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She communicates regularly with state officials on the status of supplies at the Boston Shriners Hospital and learns more about how COVID-19 is affecting hospitals statewide.

Meet Ginny:

Supply chain coordinator Ginny Ellington-McLaughlin began working at the Boston Shriners Hospital in 1985. Ginny started in the kitchen, then moved to the central sterilization room before joining supply chain. Ginny’s primary responsibilities include ordering supplies for the hospital’s clinical, research and administrative needs. She also helps fulfill requests for approved capital projects.

Every morning Ginny receives an update on the previous day’s activities and assesses inventory. She makes sure departments have what they need to function effectively, managing PAR level – or periodic automatic replenishment – for each department.

“Supply chain orders everything from medical gases and surgical masks to pens and million dollar pieces of equipment. We are ordering three times a day and taking delivery three times a week. Keeping a careful inventory is important to making sure we never run out of essential stock,” stated Ginny.

The level of intensity has increased with COVID-19. Many items are on back order, presenting challenges and requiring creativity. The entire supply chain team is working with existing vendors and connecting with alternative vendors while being vigilant about potential price gouging. Face masks, gowns, gloves, hand sanitizer and safety glasses are some of the essential items that are more in demand than ever.

“We have received so many thoughtful donations, including beautiful cloth masks. This has been very helpful because all employees must wear a mask while in the building, and nonclinical staff can use these masks, which helps preserve some of our PPE,” said Ginny.

“What makes us unique is our mission. We take care of our patients and their families, and they do not have to worry about things like paying for parking or finding temporary housing. We even make sure that the family laundry facilities in the building are always functioning,” said Ginny.

Meet Mike:

Mike Dixon has worked at the Boston Shriners Hospital for seven years. He manages the loading dock and coordinates supply delivery. This includes accepting and directing deliveries for food services, research, clinical and individual departments; plus the occasional perishable item such as a flower arrangement or personal packages for our international patients staying in local housing.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital is ordering additional critical supplies. Mike manages the flow of deliveries, which can present challenges. Drivers typically have a 3-4 hour arrival window, so three or four trucks are often waiting to unload at the same time. Over the course of a year, Mike will handle approximately $2 million worth of products, verifying over 12,500 orders.

Once Mike takes possession of the deliveries, he moves them to the storeroom and individual departments, delivering over 37,000 packages a year. “It is important to be flexible and sometimes creative to get everything unloaded and where it needs to go,” said Mike.

Mike enjoys working at the hospital, explaining, “There is no other place that compares to Shriners. I think one of the things that makes us special is because we are so small, everybody knows your name.”

Meet Tony:

The newest addition to supply chain is Tony Va, who began working at the Boston Shriners Hospital in November of 2019. Tony’s responsibilities involve providing support to his department colleagues, which involves a range of activities. Tony might assist Mike with deliveries and distribution of supplies in the morning. On a typical afternoon, you might find Tony working with Ginny, managing inventory and assessing product needs. Tony’s daily tasks vary based on the needs of the department.

We are so appreciative of our supply chain team, who are working harder than ever to ensure that all employees have exactly what they need to do their jobs every day and to do it safely during the pandemic.

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