Providers handle Nor’easter

Friday, January 30, 2015

YARMOUTH, Maine – As winter storm Juno dumped 2 feet of snow on much of the northeastern seaboard last week, HME providers prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.

Absolute Respiratory Care in Johnston, R.I., made calls to more than 700 oxygen patients to make sure they knew how to use their backup tanks in the event of a power outage. 

“We delivered backup tanks all day on Monday,” said Owner Jayne Matoian. “The last delivery was done at 8 p.m.”

Had there been an emergency and a patient needed a backup tank during the storm, Matoian would have gotten in her four-wheel drive vehicle and delivered it herself.

“Even if the roads were closed, we are considered emergency (personnel),” she explained.

Lisa Sturtevant, the customer service manager at the Ellsworth, Maine, branch of Prime Care Medical Supplies, would have done the same.  

“If I had received a call from our hospital and they said, ‘We absolutely need to have a wheelchair today,’ I would have come into the store and made that delivery to the hospital,” she said.

Two feet of snow is bad enough, but it could have been worse, noted Peter Amico, owner of Prime Care Medical Supplies in Holtsville, N.Y., which was expecting 3 feet of snow.

“Everybody was prepared for the end of the world,” he said.

Fortunately, all that preparation paid off, as providers say they received few calls, if any, during the storm. 

“I think it’s because we called all our patients the day before and told them to get ready, hunker down and know how to use their backup tanks,” said Matoian.