Biden administration closely monitors supply of medical grade oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients
The Biden administration is working and staying in close contact with oxygen providers and home health care agencies, industry business groups, interagency partners and the private sector to closely monitor the situation and provide support. support as needed, said a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services.
“As Covid has continued to evolve, we have continued to see Covid’s best care practices continue to evolve, and part of that has been the use of high flow oxygen versus ventilators,” according to Donna Craft , Senior Director of Facilities and Construction. at Premier, a healthcare performance improvement company. “This has had an absolute increase in positive patient outcomes and better patient care.”
“Normally an oxygen tank would be about 90% full, and suppliers would let them drop to a 30-40% fill level remaining in their tank, giving them a three to five day supply cushion. . now is where hospitals are down to about 10-20%, which is a one to two day supply before they are full, ”said Cross. “Even then, when backfilled, they only get about 40, sometimes 50 percent, partial fill.”
The Compressed Gas Association, whose members see three to five times more normal oxygen use, is reallocating products from the industrial sector to the healthcare sector to help alleviate the problem. In addition, some of the larger suppliers are shipping products from other regions to add supply to high demand areas. A state health official noted that although this was a short-term solution, there were concerns that the move could lead to shortages in other areas, if they later peaked. of cases.
“We have had very difficult situations over the past two weeks, where hospitals have seen their oxygen deliveries interrupted with hours of delay, putting them in a situation where they had very little oxygen supply. had a number of hospitals that were under 48 hours of oxygen, “said Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. Mayhew added that the situation appeared to stabilize on Saturday as the state was starting to see a reduction in hospitalizations, but many concerns remained:
“Hospitals use 3-4 times the amount of oxygen they would normally use. This is a vital supply, and hospitals continue to use oxygen 24 hours a day… This can certainly pose a problem. problems for the reliability of supply in Florida, even as our Covid hospitalizations begin to decline. ”
Premier contacted several federal agencies over the past week, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the US Department of Health and Human Services, on behalf of ailing hospitals in its network.
“This is a very critical situation,” Craft said, adding that the oxygen suppliers she works with have said they need help.
A health official working with states and federal agencies on the issue told CNN there needs to be a coordinated response.
“We understand that there are hurricanes, floods and wildfires across the country, so it’s not like there aren’t any distractions, but it’s serious and it takes a much better strategy and better communication plan around that – period. It’s life and death, “said the health official.