Assessing State PPE Procurement During COVID-19: A RESEARCH REPORT

The COVID-19 emergency will be remembered as one of the most devastating disasters in modern history, with impacts that rippled across all sectors of the global economy and societies. One of the grave failures is the challenge governments faced in securing personal protection equipment (PPE) for their citizens. In Western countries, it became clear that the shortage could not be averted quickly as critical products such as N95 masks and nitrile gloves became rare commodities globally. Most PPE is produced in Asia, with ironically a large proportion produced in the Wuhan region.1 PPE shortages in the United States created a bidding war among nations, states within nations, and between United States state and federal government agencies.

In this report, we focused on the PPE shortages that occurred throughout the United States in 2020. We examined the structural influence of state procurement offices on the ability to respond in an agile and effective manner. Specifically, we explored how the levels of centralization of state procurement, led by the state Chief Procurement Officer (CPOs), were associated with the responsiveness of state agencies to obtain PPE supplies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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