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Repairs: Adapt to circumstances

Repairs: Adapt to circumstances

Dan MeyerQ. How has COVID-19 impacted my oxygen concentrator repair needs?  

A. Providers are running out of concentrators and having a tough time getting more. In a recent HME Newspoll, 86% of respondents reported equipment shortages, saying they’re waiting up to 12 weeks for new units, turning away patients or even risking future surplus by overordering. 

Not surprisingly, they’re also speed-dialing their repair vendors, making urgent appeals to get their equipment repaired and returned ASAP. 

Equipment backlogs 

Consider how one Midwest multi-branch dealer limited patient contact during the height of the crisis: They scheduled porch drop-offs of new units whenever patients reported problems, leaving broken devices behind. They then scheduled contact-free porch pick-ups of those devices in a separate trip. The result? The provider shipped off more than 1,500 units to their repair center all at once. Dealers are scouring every inch of their inventory, creating an overwhelming demand that repair centers must adapt rapidly to meet.  

Supply chain disruption 

COVID-19 is causing disruption up and down the supply chain, and repair centers are experiencing the trickle-down impact of increased pressure on parts manufacturers, equipment OEMs and HME dealers. They’re all making tough choices about deploying resources to serve as many patients as possible. 

Parts shortages 

The biggest result of that disruption is O2 parts shortages. Manufacturers must strike a delicate balance between allocating parts for new equipment versus repairs of existing units. Especially in POCs, back-ordered parts have become a major driver of repair delays.  

Time to adapt 

Repair centers must adapt rapidly alongside dealers. At Repair Authority, we fast-tracked a 10,000-square-foot expansion, allowing us to add new production lines and technicians to meet surging demand. We’re also cross-training staff to stay nimble in how we deploy manpower. 

But no COVID-19 adaptation strategy can sacrifice the basics – performing top-quality repairs that keep equipment operating reliably now and post-pandemic. 

Dan Meyer is chief revenue officer at Repair Authority. Reach him at or 440.334.2172. 


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