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Providers work ‘day and night’ amid latest wave

Providers work ‘day and night’ amid latest wave

YARMOUTH, Maine – COVID-19 cases are rising again and many HME providers are feeling the strain, according to a recent HME Newspoll. 

Nearly 64% of poll respondents say the Delta variant and the subsequent uptick in COVID-19 cases have impacted their business, with 56% saying they have seen an increase in oxygen setups in the past month. 

“Our oxygen setups have tripled our normal,” wrote David Snodgras, operations manager at Ozarks Healthcare Medical Equipment. “Our oxygen concentrators on rent are 25% higher than normal. Our staff is working all day and night trying to keep up with the discharges from the hospital, because they have no more room.”  

At press time, the seven-day average for new cases was 114,190, an increase of 18.4% over the previous week, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

With more than a year of dealing with the pandemic under their belts, providers say they are better equipped to handle the resurgence. 

“We’re upping our PPE again, prepping our inventory for more pediatric oxygen equipment and supplies,” wrote one respondent. “We’re dealing with an increase in need for high flow concentrators and upping general inventory for oxygen.” 

Still, increasing oxygen inventory has been difficult for many providers, thanks to an equipment shortage driven by ongoing supply chain issues. 

“Our main issue due to COVID is back orders for 02 concentrators and tank refilling from our vendors to meet patient volumes,” wrote Johnny Carroll, vice president, post-acute care, Memorial Health I Meadows Hospital. 

A recall on certain respiratory devices has only exacerbated the problem, say respondents. 

“(We have) big concerns growing of how we support hospital discharges with BiPAPs when the recall has stopped or driven down our allocations to almost nothing,” wrote one provider. 

While mask mandates are making a return in many areas, and vaccinations continue, providers say the impact of the Delta variant goes beyond just the impact to their businesses. 

“(We’ve seen) more staff exposures and COVID cases, and their kids being positive with the restart of school,” wrote one respondent. 


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