By Sally McMahon
Universal Medical Supply (UMS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Made In America Supply, founded in 2020 and based in Louisville, Kentucky, announced the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), 3-ply and N95 style protective masks, made in America utilizing domestic supplies to assure the highest quality products.
The UMS facility, located in the Bluegrass Commerce Park in Jeffersontown, Kentucky is a 15,000 square foot facility with the capacity to produce 7.8 million protective masks per month. It consists of both warehousing and production areas which allows UMS to provide some logistics services to their clients to help them streamline their supply chain operations.
William Paynter, president and founder of UMS, said that the company currently has plans for additional positions as they add more production capacity. “We’re proud of what we’re producing and the people we are bringing onboard. What we do is Made in America for Americans, both in the jobs we are creating and our PPE products.” We spoke with William Paynter recently about how UMS is partnering with local healthcare organizations. Highlights are below.
Medical News: What problem was UMS looking to solve when it was founded?
William Paynter: 95 percent of medical facemasks are manufactured in China. When pandemics hit, they can shore up their essential supply chain and leave America completely vulnerable to the spread of viruses. This is nothing short of a national security emergency for the U.S. and is the reason why we manufacture medical grade 3-Ply and N95 style respirators with an entirely domestic supply chain of raw materials. The bottom line is we want to help make America safe and separate ourselves from the dependence on foreign markets for critical healthcare equipment.
MN: How have you partnered with healthcare organizations?
WP: Every healthcare organization is a potential partner for our company, whether it is a lab, hospital, physicians’ practice, dentist, long-term care facility, GPO or a distributor. We have strategic partnerships with some of the largest long-term care companies in Louisville and are pursuing partnerships with GPOs and distributors that have existing customer bases with strong demand for American made products.
We’re also seeing a growing desire from both regional and national healthcare organizations to invest in our company through joint ventures and capital fund raising. They view this as a strategic investment that solidifies their “safety net” when another pandemic or national disaster hits.
MN: Tell us partnerships with rural hospitals such as Appalachian Regional Hospital.
WP: Partnering with regional hospital associations is extremely important to us because they do not receive as much attention from large providers in the marketplace. This means places like Appalachian Regional Hospital tend to pay a much higher premium for PPE. We typically negotiate favorable contracts for these companies and allow them to utilize our unique distribution capabilities that the UPS Global Air Hub allows us.
MN: What makes Louisville a good home for UMS?
WP: The reason for choosing Louisville is twofold. First, it is a centralized location with immediate access to the UPS Global Air Hub. This means we can ship anywhere in the world within a moment’s notice and reach 80 percent of the United States in a day’s drive. This gives us a competitive advantage over other medical manufacturers that simply do not have the same logistical capabilities.
Second, Kentucky is the air filtration capital of the world. Because of that, we can swiftly source the highest quality filtration materials on the market and create a product that is unparalleled.
MN: How has recent legislation related to the Strategic National Stockpile helped UMS?
WP: The Biden administration has made encouraging moves to strengthen the procurement of American made product in the federal sector. However, they have yet to deliver on their promise to bring this back home. Americans have short-term memory, and in the healthcare space we are projected to lose $94 billion next year. If we do not legislate correctly, we will lose that business to China.
The Defense Production Act has created a mechanism to help even the playing field against China by requiring the national stockpile to be American made. Nevertheless, until there is federal legislation that creates a tax incentive for healthcare companies to purchase American products, this country will continue to put American lives in jeopardy by allowing their healthcare sector to purchase cheap, inferior, foreign products.
As a former member of Gov. Beshear’s transition team, I urge his administration along with Robert Stivers to enact similar legislation on stock piling and incentivize the state to purchase American made and Kentucky made product. Kentucky is the filtration capital of the world, and it would be a shame if we do not become the national leaders in PPE manufacturing.
MN: What is the future of UMS post pandemic? WP: Over the next two years we will be on an active growth strategy to diversify our product portfolio through both organic growth and acquisitions across the country. We will have several manufacturing facilities across the country where we will continue our mission to help make America safe.