By Indya Miller, CCS, Outpatient Compliance Manage Axea Solutions
Shortages in the supply chain have caused systemic challenges within the engines that support our everyday lives. The newest reported challenge involves supplies of IV contrast.
Contrast, also known as a dye, is used daily in US hospitals for a multitude of purposes, from diagnosing and treating strokes to monitoring cancerous tumors. More than ten million injections of contrast are given in the United States each year.
While the healthcare industry remains overburdened and understaffed, the shortage of IV contrast throughout the US affects our ability to perform CT scans requiring an IV injection, forcing hospitals to ration supplies and doctors to prioritize patients. Healthcare providers are pivoting to help conserve contrast by using alternative scans, and in some cases postponing non-emergency imaging studies.
The shortage of IV contrast started to develop within the healthcare industry in April 2022 and has since been followed by a recent shut down of offshore IV manufacturing companies due to strict COVID lockdowns. Eighty percent of production was lost, causing a six to eight-week backlog of needed IV contrast. “The shortage situation appears to be nationwide, with normal production anticipated to resume by mid-June.”— Colin Milligan, Director of Media Relations, AHA.
Shortages related to heparin, 50% dextrose injection, diphenhydramine injection, and various local anesthetics are also an additional concern. Similar to other industries, there are unprecedented levels of congestion at the US ports, increased cost of freight, labor shortages, and increases in transportation costs, all contributing to the overall supply chain situation.
Hospitals and physicians are being encouraged to purchase supplies directly from the manufacturers instead of distributors. Innovative collaboration among health care organizations and their providers is paramount as the industry works through current supply chain issues in an already unstable environment.
Industry expert, Indya Miller, has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare. Her revenue cycle knowledge, combined with her compliance expertise, equips Indya with a comprehensive understanding of the needed requirements to improve and maintain quality and consistency.