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Give Me Your Keys, Please

Home Blog Give Me Your Keys, Please

People for Quality Care (PFQC) recently conducted an informal survey via social media to gain insights to challenges current patients, and caregivers, are facing when it comes to getting home medical equipment and supplies. Upon analysis, three key themes were identified.

Give Me Your Keys, Please
Most of us rely heavily on our vehicles daily to get us to and from work, run errands, shuttle children or grandchildren, and a host of other tasks. Or sometimes we go for a drive, “just to get away.” And then one day, we go to start our car, and nothing happens. We all know the sinking feeling and the immediate thought process of how we are going to rearrange life without our cars for a day. Harder yet, when we reach the age where can no longer drive safely, and our cars are taken away for good.   

We depend on our cars for mobility. Likewise, millions of people depend on medical equipment and supplies, like a wheelchair, for their mobility and managing their medical needs at home. According to the World Health Organization 65 million people globally require a wheelchair for mobility, yet 20 million of those requiring a wheelchair do not have them. This problem is also right here in our backyard as people struggle to get wheelchairs and other home medical equipment they need in a timely manner (if at all).

We throw adult sized temper tantrums if our vehicle is going to take longer than a day to fix. However, those with true medical needs (who responded to our survey) are having to wait upwards of two weeks for their equipment and supplies.

We wouldn’t want to give up our vehicles for two weeks, so why would we expect anyone to be okay with living without medical equipment and services they need for two weeks?   It is unacceptable for people to be forced to go without essential medical equipment that they need to manage their mobility and other medical needs at home.

Ripple Effect
“I have private insurance, so Medicare doesn’t impact me.” This is a common phrase we hear, but data is starting to prove otherwise. We are seeing a ripple effect. Medicaid, TRICARE (for active military families), and private pay insurance companies tend to follow Medicare, and this Medicare policy is impacting individuals’ ability to get home medical equipment and supplies, no matter what type of medical coverage they have. More than one in four survey respondents who were not on Medicare still reported challenges in getting the medical equipment and supplies they need.

Out of Pocket Increase
More than half of respondents saw an increase in their out of pocket expenses.  No matter how great or small of the increase, it is not only becoming harder for people to get medical supplies to maintain a quality of life, it is becoming more expensive. As anyone on a fixed budget can attest – any amount is too much.

These three themes aren’t small. Each one carries huge impacts on the patient, caregiver, and our society. With these challenges, there is hope, too! As we continue to remove barriers, the “Protecting Home Oxygen & Medical Equipment Access Act of 2019was recently introduced by champion congressional leaders Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa). This bill will provide patients with better quality medical supplies and allow them to get their medical equipment and supplies more easily. Visit and click ‘Take Action’ to send a letter to your Member of Congress!


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