Newswise — One year ago today, 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, improving America’s healthcare supply resiliency.
“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, LED 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, Louisiana’s leading healthcare system, 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.”
Comments from Louisiana Leadership
"We need to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States and end our reliance on China for PPE and medical supplies. Ochsner Health is showing it can be done, while creating hundreds of jobs in our state. We'll be better prepared for the next pandemic thanks to Ochsner, Trax Development, and the committed men and women at SafeSource Direct."
- U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy
“I’m grateful for this partnership of SafeSource Direct, Ochsner Health and Louisiana Economic Development, which produced two crucial PPE facilities in Acadiana. That means Ochsner is now getting their PPE right here in America. Since their establishment, these facilities have created more than 500 local jobs as well as crucial PPE to keep workers safe.”
- U.S. Senator John Kennedy
“SafeSource is bringing hundreds of new jobs to the Acadiana region. I commend Ochsner Health for investing in this critical project, which is helping drive growth in our local economy and helping shore up domestic manufacturing capabilities critical to our national security.”
- Page Cortez, President of the Louisiana State Senate
“The SafeSource projects announced in 2021 are a case study in the power of partnerships,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “In just one year’s time, Louisiana has been able to confront an urgent public health challenge with a business solution. The collaboration of Ochsner Health and Trax Development, combined with the active support of Gov. Edwards, LED and our regional economic development partners, is what made the speed and scale of this project possible. Congratulations to all involved.”
- Don Pierson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED)
About SafeSource Direct
SafeSource Direct LLC is an American manufacturer of personal protective equipment (PPE) dedicated to keeping our nation’s healthcare and other essential workers safe on the job. At SafeSource Direct, success minded team-members use innovation and automation to provide high-quality American-made PPE at prices competitive with those of foreign suppliers. Headquartered in Lafayette Parish, La., SafeSource Direct operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Broussard as well as in neighboring St. Martin Parish. Positioned near the Mississippi River, rail lines, and interstate highways, it is well positioned to distribute PPE to the nation. To learn more about how SafeSource Direct is laying the groundwork for sustainability in the healthcare industry, visit SafeSourceDirect.com.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Celebrating 80 years in 2022, it leads nationally in cancer care, cardiology, neurosciences, liver and heart transplants and pediatrics, among other areas. Ochsner is consistently named both the top hospital and top children’s hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report. The not-for-profit organization is inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities. Its focus is on preventing diseases and providing patient-centered care that is accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner Health pioneers new treatments, deploys emerging technologies and performs groundbreaking research, including over 700 clinical studies. It has more than 34,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties. It operates 40 hospitals and more than 300 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South; and its cutting-edge Connected Health digital medicine program is caring for patients beyond its walls. In 2021, Ochsner Health treated more than 1 million people from every state and 75 countries. As Louisiana’s top healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. To learn more, visit https://www.ochsner.org/.