Late last week, WSHA alerted hospitals to the issue of counterfeit N95 masks circulating in the national supply of PPE, acting on a notice from 3M and the Department of Homeland Security. 3M later confirmed at least some of the masks purchased by WSHA and other hospitals were not made by the company.
This issue impacts dozens of hospitals across the state and the supply of hundreds of thousands of N95 masks. It is reprehensible that counterfeiters are selling fake masks, especially during a time when these resources are desperately needed to ensure staff safety.
3M has shared that they will accelerate the delivery of one million 9205+ and 1870+ N95s ordered by WSHA. This supply will be offered for free to Washington hospitals, prioritizing facilities who are most in need. Need will be identified by those with fewest supplies on hand as reported to WAHealth and smaller hospitals with limited purchasing power. If you are interested in accessing these supplies, please complete this order form. If you have not used these models before, fit testing employees will be necessary. In the meantime, please continue to sequester and hold 3M N95 masks received from WSHA and cases with lot numbers in the 3M alert. We hope to have more information about what should be done with these masks next week.
Working together through this frustrating situation has benefited all member hospitals impacted by this situation. First, N95 mask fraud is a significant national problem, and 3M is currently pursuing multiple fraud cases. Because this issue was raised through WSHA, which can coordinate with the dozens of impacted hospitals across the state, Washington hospitals were given priority by 3M over individual cases being raised around the country.
Second, MultiCare, Providence and UW Medicine all offered N95 masks to any critical access hospital that became dangerously low because of this situation. WSHA helped coordinate with those in need. We are grateful to support these collaborative steps, which results in a better outcome for all involved.