Local healthcare providers feel the effects of supply chain tension

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DELMARVA – The medical industry is feeling the pressure when it comes to getting much-needed supplies to their facilities. “There were times you would sit eight or nine hours a day looking for supplies wherever you could get them,” said Janice Geiger, director of materiel management at Atlantic General Hospital.

These effects do not stop at local health facilities. “The main thing we have right now is plastics. The problem is that local hospitals always share with each other. But nobody can do it now because we’re all in the same boat, ”Geiger said.

Not only are actual medical supplies hard to come by, but prices are skyrocketing as well. “You pay higher freight costs, contract prices go up for everything. The best thing we can do right now is just try to maintain and make sure our staff – who work so hard – have all the supplies they need, ”Geiger said.

Small private practices also struggle to get the vital supplies they need. “We have sent orders to sourcing companies, but now we come back saying it could take up to nine weeks from when I submit the order to when we have the supply available, and then distribute. to patients, ”said Pearl Clinic owner Dr Sherin Howett.

In addition to being a general practitioner, Dr Howett is also a sleep specialist. She says her patients have to wait months for things like CPAP machines. “It’s obviously a big deal when you have a huge demand and you don’t have the supply to meet it. It ends up leaving people, really, between a rock and a hard place, ”Dr. Howett said.

Dr Howett says a recall of some of these machines earlier this summer, in addition to a shortage of computer chips, and the suffocated supply chain is making things complicated and difficult. “We keep reaching out to base and communicating, and trying to give people a realistic time frame for maybe when they can expect to get something, or if there maybe something else we can. offer in the meantime. Then we try to discuss alternative options, even if only temporarily, ”said Dr Howett.

So she and other health care providers strive to find creative solutions. “I can’t make machines. I can’t physically find them to put them in people’s hands, ”Dr Howett said. “We were able to have them renovated, 100% disinfected, and then put them back in the hands of other people. “

At Atlantic General Hospital, Geiger says they also think outside the box. “In fact, our distributor cannot get some of the supplies. Some companies will not ship supplies to them. You actually have to go to the manufacturer and ask them, ”she said.

In private practice or in hospital, healthcare providers say the ultimate goal is to ensure that the quality of their care remains at its peak. “Every hospital, every nursing home, everyone is trying to get what they need for their patients and their community. Bottom line, I think we’re doing everything we can to make that happen, ”Geiger said.


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