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Newspoll: Backlogs drag on, testing patience

Newspoll: Backlogs drag on, testing patience

newspollYARMOUTH, Maine – While providers are starting to see improvements in backlogs, nearly all (96%) of the respondents to a recent HME Newspoll say they are still seeing a lag in getting the parts and equipment they need. 

The backlog, which has stretched over more than a year, is driven by ongoing supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and a widespread recall on certain CPAP devices and noninvasive ventilators that was issued in June 2021. 

“CPAPs are still very limited and on an allocation basis,” wrote Roger Folsom of Med1st in Dublin, Ga. “It impacts heavily serving patient needs.” 

While some poll respondents said they have been waiting a year or more for some back orders, most said the length of duration ranged from 31 – 60 days (41%) and 61 – 29 days (32%). 

By then, it’s sometimes too late, say respondents.  

“By the time we do have product available, we have greater difficulty contacting or reconnecting patients to get them set up on equipment,” said Eric Schoonover of Health Technology Resources in Buffalo Grove, Ill., who has a CPAP backlog of greater than 90 days. “Many have forgotten they need it, have gone elsewhere, or no longer want it to due to perceived lack of urgency.” 

While CPAP devices appear to still comprise a large part of the backlog, providers across the HME spectrum are feeling the pain, they say. 

“Powerchair controllers are still our biggest challenges as are some other parts that are stopping us,” said one respondent.  

To deal with the ongoing delays, providers have juggled their inventory and ordering processes – usually at greater expense, they say. 

“It has increased my PAR levels and, therefore, increased my inventory expenses,” wrote one respondent. “(That’s) in addition to all the surcharges and acquisition cost increases.” 

All in all, it’s “extremely frustrating” trying to run a business and provide quality patient care, say respondents. 

“The real shame is I don’t see the government doing anything to improve the situation,” said David Chesnut of Pennyrile Home Medical in Hopkinsville, Ky. “In fact, I wish they would get out of the way and let people know what they are doing.” 


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