General Motors is planning to build thousands of ventilators. President Trump unimpressed.
Ventech Life Systems updated us today on the status of its joint venture with GM Systems in its efforts to bolster ventilator production. General Motors will build VOCSN critical care ventilators at GM’s Kokomo, Indiana manufacturing facility. The plan is to have FDA-cleared ventilators scheduled to shipping as soon as April. This effort is in parallel to Ventec taking aggressive steps to ramp up production at their manufacturing facility in Bothell, Washington.
“This unique partnership combines Ventec’s respiratory care expertise with GM’s manufacturing might to produce sophisticated and high-quality critical care ventilators,” said Chris Kiple, CEO of Ventec Life Systems. “This pandemic is unprecedented and so is the response, with incredible support from GM and their suppliers. Healthcare professionals on the front lines deserve the best tools to treat patients and precision critical care ventilators like VOCSN are what is necessary to save lives.”
Although this all sounds like great news to us, President Trump is using the bully pulpit to pressure GM to do more and to do it faster. You can read the tweets yourself in our screenshot above. Clearly, President Trump wants automakers to move as fast as possible.
“We are proud to stand with other American companies and our skilled employees to meet the needs of this global pandemic,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. “This partnership has rallied the GM enterprise and our global supply base to support Ventec, and the teams are working together with incredible passion and commitment. I am proud of this partnership as we work together to address urgent and life-saving needs.” Barra added, ”GM is in the position to help build more ventilators because of the remarkable performance of GM and Ventec’s global supply base. Our joint teams have moved mountains to find real solutions to save lives and fight the pandemic.”
GM says it will also begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at its Warren, Michigan manufacturing facility. According to GM, production of the masks will begin next week and within two weeks ramp up to 50,000 masks per day, with the potential to increase to 100,000 per day. Level 1 masks do not effectively protect a healthcare worker from C-19 virus transmission. They are not intended to. They can be useful in reducing transmission if an infected person wears the mask. The masks most health care workers want (and the doctor we spoke to say is a critical part of personal protection) are N95 rated masks. We applaud GM in making any masks, but felt the clarification would give the story added clarity.
Ventec image at top of page courtesy of GM.