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Providers scramble to get a handle on glove issues

Providers scramble to get a handle on glove issues

YARMOUTH, Maine - The demand for medical gloves has surged as much as 200% since the start of the public health emergency, creating shortages across the health care system and driving up costs for HME providers, say stakeholders.  

“The need for gloves and personal protective equipment has greatly increased, so there’s just not enough supply to keep up,” said Laura Williard, vice president of payer relations for AAHomecare, which recently convened a Glove Workgroup to address the issue. “Pricing has gone up drastically. This isn’t going to resolve quickly – we’re not going to go back to normal when the PHE ends.”  

For providers who carry gloves for patients to use with ostomy and wound care supplies and catheters, increased costs are an additional burden, stakeholders say.  

“We are reimbursed fixed amounts,” said Skip Matthews, president of Lewis & Clark in Springfield, Mass., and chair of the Medical Supplies Council. “The manufacturers have had to put limits on how many they can put out there. We’re fortunate we are able to get them still, but other providers that use other distributors may not have the supply.”  

Stakeholders say it’s unclear how long pricing will be affected, so they are staying in close communication with vendors and looking at new ways to do business.  

“Gloves were on allocation for nearly a year, and today’s unit costs are now more than three times what they were at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Sean Riley, chief experience officer at Home Care Delivered in Glen Allen, Virginia. “That has created significant cost of goods increases that are exacerbated by ongoing reimbursement compression, so it’s led to process/product innovation to offset part of the cost increases, as well as strategic sourcing planning with an eye toward better long-range pricing stability.”  

AAHomecare plans to address concerns with payers, says Williard.


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