Storm chaser? That's me!


In making cold calls over the past week or so, I've talked to several providers who've gone above and beyond in some pretty extreme weather situations. 

It seems like everything hit at once: fires in the West, major outages in DC, a huge wind storm in Ohio. Providers didn't seem to miss a beat though, continuing to deliver oxygen and serve patients while the emergencies went on around them. 

Kristy Warner in Ohio said a transfilling station on site helped her staff to be able to make deliveries around the clock after a wind storm knocked out power in six counties that Northside Oxygen and Medical Equipment serves. 

Warner had more than 100 patients without power as power lines and trees went down, blocking several roads. 

Patient calls were coming in 10 at a time, she said, as soon as the power went out. And, every time the delivered tanks ran out, Northside had to deliver to these patients all over again.

Sounds like a crazy situation, right? Northside had it covered. 

"We were able to keep everyone safe and healthy," Warner told me. 

Warner came in when outages were reported on a Friday evening and didn't leave until 3 a.m. Sunday – when she took a brief nap and got back to work until midnight Sunday. 

"It was pretty intense," she said. 

The thing is, providers responding to these emergencies are spending thousands of dollars on overtime, deliveries, etc. and they aren't getting paid any extra. AAHomecare highlighted that in a release that Yahoo picked up earlier this month. Here's hoping their message helped providers gain some ground in proving their services are valuable and important, whether there's an emergency or not. 




What a great story!  As we watched the terrible weather across the country we were commenting on how scary it must be for oxygen and other HME users to be in those situations. What a great thing it is to have such dedicated and caring providers out there helping these folks. We also thought about how many fewer providers there may be in a year or two as a result of competitive bidding. We think that we may not realize how valuable these great folks are until the worst happens and there is nobody left to help or the nearest help is 100 miles or more away.

I hope the Medicare officials and lawmakers have thought about this too...?