Photo courtesy of Bozeman Health

Partnership for PPE

Simms transitions to creating gowns

Bozeman Health has partnered with Simms Fishing Productions, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation (YCCF) to address the need for reusable, medical grade gowns at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and Big Sky Medical Center.

COVID-19: A Community Together, a mini- documentary, premiered on Monday and in just over five minutes walked through how a cause for concern led to an innovative solution.

“We ordered in our normal practices and then all of the sudden it became a reality of like, those things are not going to be available and we will run out, and to have that weight to propel us to find alternate ways was scary,” Rebecca Williamson, Bozeman Health Nurse Manager, said in the video.

Due to disruptions in operations for Simms manufacturing partners in Asia, the company was unable to bring in workers. Williamson contacted Simms to inquire about a new partnership, as did Terry Cunningham, Bozeman City Commissioner. It seemed many thought it a practical leap from manufacturing wet suits to manufacturing PPE gowns.

“It really was a few of us kind of coming together on this idea right about the same time and working with Bozeman Health to figure out how we could align our capabilities with your needs,” Ben Christensen, Simms Vice President of Operations, said in the documentary.

Simms was able to bring back some staff and turned their skills in creating fishing gear into creating gowns for medical professionals following precise specifications from Bozeman Health, the FDA and other regulatory organizations. Simms is able to pay staff and donor support covers basic operating costs.

“When he (Cunningham) called to say that there was a possible partnership opportunity with Arthur Blank and with Bozeman Health and with Simms to create surgical gowns, we just thought this is a no brainer. We’re in a battle and we need to protect our nurses and doctors the way soldiers had been protected in the past, and that’s the way we approached this,” Loren Bough, Vice President YCCF, said.

Altogether, the efforts put forth by these four organizations helps hospital staff and facilities, patients and keeps families of healthcare workers safe. Going further, it creates bonding relationships across the community.

“To have watched our community rally in the way that it has, to watch our donors lean in behind us and help us do this work has been a real point of pride for us. We live in a special place. We’re going to get through this together,” Jason Smith, Bozeman Health Chief Advancement Officer, said.

Watch COVID-19: A Community Together here: https://www.

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