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Welch Allyn parent company boosts production of medical equipment for coronavirus battle

By Adam Rombel (arombel@cnybj.com)

Date:

A patient vital-signs monitor made and sold by Welch Allyn, a unit of Hillrom. (Photo credit: Welch Allyn website)

SKANEATELES, N.Y. —  Hillrom (NYSE: HRC), which owns Skaneateles–based Welch Allyn, says it’s working to more than double production of critical-care products, including vitals-monitoring devices, ventilators, and hospital beds to help hospitals meet coronavirus patient needs.

Chicago–based Hillrom is boosting production of patient vital-signs monitors and blood-pressure devices and cuffs that are produced at the Welch Allyn plant in Skaneateles.

It is also ramping up production of critical medical devices made at its other plants. These include a non-invasive ventilator currently approved in the U.S. that is portable and used for treating patients with mild to moderate respiratory problems. Hillrom says expanded use of non-invasive ventilation can free up capacity for invasive ventilators for the most serious COVID-19 patients.

The company seeks to increase its production capacity of this non-invasive ventilator, called Life2000, five-fold. It is produced at the firm’s Irvine, California plant.

Hillrom is also boosting production of ICU and med-surg unit smart beds for the U.S. and international markets.

The company says its business operations continue with “no material interruption as global demand for several critical products has grown substantially.”

“We are humming right along in our manufacturing facilities. We are pumping out product as quickly as we can to meet customer demand,” Howard Karesh, corporate communications executive at Hillrom’s Chicago HQ, tells CNYBJ. “We’re busy to say the least. We are adding shifts, adding people, and making sure to fill open positions as soon as we can. We’re hiring.”

Karesh was referring to the company’s manufacturing plants across the board, and adds that he doesn’t know the specific staffing story at the Skaneateles plant at the moment.

Hillrom also recently announced it is donating an additional $3 million in medical devices “well-suited for critical and intensive care environments” to 25 U.S. hospitals fighting the coronavirus. That brings to $5.5 million its total donations so far during the pandemic, as Hillrom made previous donations in Asia and Europe.

“We are doing everything we humanly can to help caregivers fight this thing,” Karesh says of the coronavirus.

Hillrom is a global medical technology company that has 10,000 employees. It employs about 1,000 people in Skaneateles. The company generated $2.9 billion in net revenue and $152 million in net income in its last full fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, 2019.

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