The state of Texas has spent more than $200 million on 106 orders of personal protective equipment from March 1 through early June, according to purchase orders released by the Texas Division of Emergency Management on Tuesday.
Though purchase orders totaling $1.1 billion in the protective equipment have been issued, orders for $638 million dollars' worth of items have been canceled to date and were not paid out. "Various federal funding sources" will reimburse the purchases or were used to make them, said Seth Christensen, a spokesperson for the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
He said there are a number of reasons why purchase orders were canceled.
It could be because a shipment didn’t meet the deadline outlined in the purchase order or that the products failed to pass the state’s quality assurance check, he said.
"When the product arrives, before it's taken off the truck, we go through a quality assurance process to test the product and make sure it's safe for use. If it doesn't meet that standard, we leave it on the truck and we do not accept receipt of it and we do not pay for it," Christensen said.
Some of the orders were also made when global demand was high and supply was low, “and so purchase orders might have been issued to vendors who said they could get us a product and then they never did," he said.
There are still outstanding purchase orders.
Gov. Greg Abbott created a supply chain task force in late March, as medical providers in Texas and across the country complained they lacked protective equipment, like N95 respirators and masks. Keith Miears, senior vice president of worldwide procurement at Dell Technologies, was tapped to be Supply Chain Director.
The governor has since provided updates on incoming shipments of the protective equipment, and said at a May 18 press conference that "we now have ample supplies of PPE. Get this, we distribute well more than 1 million face mask per day."