Dr. Marcelo Hochman has helped small practices nationwide stay equipped with PPE during the pandemic.By Meghan Schiller

CHARLESTON, S.C. (KDKA) – The next time you visit your doctor or take your child to see the pediatrician, you’ll expect them and their staff to be wearing “PPE” or personal protective equipment.

However, those masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves are in high-demand and hard to come by these days.

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That’s something one physician in South Carolina comes in. He’s helping to make sure Pittsburgh doctors don’t run out of supplies.

The effort to bring PPE to communities is being run by Dr. Marcelo Hochman through what is known as “group buying power.”

MEGHAN SCHILLER: What is group buying power?
DR. HOCHMAN: The issue is that I, as an individual independent physician, only need X number of units of PPE, so factories during this whole crisis are not responding to small orders because they have giant orders.

So, Dr. Hochman thought, let’s find a way to make a giant order.

His company, Action PPE, combines the orders from small doctors offices across the nation, hoping to secure in-demand supplies.

“By combining my small order with 1,000 other small orders, all of a sudden, we were able to generate an order that was of interest to the factories,” Dr. Hochman said.

The factories manufacturing the N-95 masks, disposable masks, isolation gowns, face shields, and gloves have already shipped orders to doctors in Gibsonia, Greensburg, Natrona Heights, Erie, and Meadville.

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Local doctors can order off of his company’s website and find strength in numbers.

“Now, I think we’ve distributed, you know, or shipped PPE to 40 of the states and 30-plus organizations that are using it,” Dr. Hochman said.

While this idea has helped so many, what’s next when there could be shortages?

Dr. Hochman needs to help small practices find needles and syringes.

“So, I might not be a center to provide vaccines, I still need needles and syringes to do my work, so those are sort of the things we’re trying to work on, kind of preemptively, and figuring out what we need,” Dr. Hochman explained.

Action PPE is thinking ahead to ensure local doctors are set before the upcoming syringe shortage.

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So far, Action PPE has supplied more than 3.3 million PPE items to 10,000 doctors across the nation.

Meghan Schiller