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VHHA partners with Richmond-based Olivian Co. on medical mask production

Virginia Hospital & Healthcare AssociationThe Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association and its VHHA Shared Services Corp. subsidiary are embarking on a new professional relationship with Richmond-based Olivian to establish a steady supply of domestically-produced medical face masks for hospitals and health care providers in the Commonwealth.

This new partnership establishes a direct pipeline to a Virginia company that can supply medical-grade face masks to providers who have experienced challenges in acquiring the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to effectively deliver medical care. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for PPE including face masks and face shields, gloves, and medical gowns has surged. Yet many health care providers have struggled to source PPE amid the pandemic, or to have paid orders fulfilled while dealing with price gouging and intense bidding wars to acquire needed resources.

Olivian is a woman- and minority-owned company founded in 2020 by Wendy Scelia. Her inspiration came from family experience during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis when her brother in Connecticut shared that his wife’s nursing unit was running dangerously low on the disposable masks that are essential for patient care. Scelia initially leveraged her professional production and supply chain connections to source face masks from international suppliers to get masks shipped to Connecticut. The depth of the ongoing pandemic and paralyzing supply chain complications quickly led her to recognize the need for a reliable domestic production operation, a realization that spurred the creation of Olivian.

“Access to the supplies and equipment needed to respond to COVID-19, from PPE to testing kits and remdesivir, has been an ongoing challenge for Virginia hospitals and other health care providers since the pandemic arrived in March,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “The Association has actively pursued multiple strategies to acquire PPE and establish new supply lines. This exciting new partnership with Olivian is a critical step forward in that work.”

Added Olivian Founder and CEO Wendy Scelia: “What began as a response to family situation has rapidly involved into a homegrown business providing local jobs while contributing to the response to a global health crisis. Olivian makes three-layer medical-grade masks that are available to consumers, health care providers, and businesses. We are proud to partner with VHHA to provide medical masks to frontline health care heroes who are battling COVID-19 while also supporting the economy by growing the manufacturing base.”

“Having high-quality medical-grade masks produced right here in Richmond, Virginia will benefit health care providers throughout the Commonwealth by shoring up supply chain vulnerabilities exposed during COVID-19,” said VHHA Shared Services CEO David Jenkins. “Olivian is an ideal partner is this work and we are delighted to collaborate with them.”