Supply shortages are disrupting care delivery, CentraCare physician says

Pandemic-related supply chain challenges escalated in 2021, leaving many hospitals across the nation low on basic medical supplies amid the delta surge, Kaiser Health News reported Dec. 9. 

Crutches, syringes, needles, tubing, gloves, catheters and surgery drapes are among the items in short supply. In some cases, hospital leaders say the shortages are diverting clinicians' attention away from patients and threatening care quality.

For example, St. Cloud, Minn.-based CentraCare experienced a shortage of urine collection kits in late November, spurring the system to secure four different types of alternative test kits and order individual parts to make their own kits. Some of the urine cups in the homemade kits can't be sent through their tube systems, so staff members have to bring the samples to the lab themselves, which cuts into their time for patient care activities.  

"Now our supply shortage is actually affecting our ability to do the care," George Morris, MD, CentraCare's physician incident commander for COVID-19 response, told Kaiser Health News. "When you throw in all these variations — four different types of collection kits, an infinite number of different types of crutches — there's always that little slight chance of error. And that's unfortunate, but that's the reality."

View the full article here.

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