How to level up your oxygen program

Special thanks to Brand Whiteley with MasVida Health.

The content from this article came from our conversation with Brandi Whiteley, Senior VP of Compliance and Clinical Initiatives with MasVida Health. You can listen to the podcast here or watch it on YouTube here.

In this week’s article we break down the ins and outs of providing oxygen to your residents, how oxygen distribution works, where your costs come from, and a solution to help reduce oxygen costs and provide better care to your residents.

What is medical oxygen?

In just about every nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or assisted living facility throughout the nation you can find a handful of residents that use medical oxygen regularly. So, what exactly is medical oxygen?

• Medical oxygen is classified as a drug by the FDA
• It requires a prescription from a physician
• The oxygen must have a 99% purity to be classified as medical oxygen
• Cylinder size depends on what is prescribed to them (E cylinder, M cylinder, D cylinder, etc.)

How is medical oxygen different from the oxygen we breathe every day?

The key factor is medical oxygen is the 99% purity level. Residents need medical oxygen because they are unable to get enough from what is supplied to them in their environment. As Brandi Whiteley described it: “It’s like giving them a boost.”

Why would someone need to be prescribed oxygen?

Someone who needs medical oxygen typically requires respiratory therapy. That would be for patients that might have a diagnosis of COPD, emphysema, in need of tracheostomy, or are just having difficulty breathing. However, most commonly the patient has an illness or common comorbidity that requires it.

What are the biggest problems operators, administrators, and directors of nursing face when providing medical oxygen to their residents?

The largest problem would be supply and demand. When COVID hit the high demand for medical oxygen caused the industry to scramble to provide for facilities. Manufacturers were the main ones impacted by shortages, such as aluminum, which is the primary material oxygen cylinders are made of, and other materials used to make the disposal supplies needed to facilitate medical oxygen therapy.

This domino effect of supply shortage from manufacturer to distributor to facility continues to have a large strain on skilled nursing facility administrators and operators. They need vendors that are proactive on ordering based on customer demand, and partners who have the infrastructure and resources to provide both scheduled, consistent delivery and same-day delivery for emergency referrals.

What are the options an administrator, director of nursing, or operator has when choosing an oxygen provider?

Option 1: Oxygen Distributor

Typically, large gas companies manage a wide portfolio of gasses: oxygen, helium, nitrogen, etc. There is limited access to the direct-to-manufacturer ordering of medical oxygen, this means most facilities need to use a third-party vendor.

More third-party vendor involvement increases the cost of medical oxygen and in turn, increases the cost to the facility.

Option 2: In-House Liquid O2
An additional option would be that a facility would invest in building an In-house oxygen
and transfill system on site. This is typical for a hospital setting—with the in-wall hook-ups.

However, this requires a large capital investment, and once the investment is made it requires regular maintenance and reoccurring costs to refill your

The typical slim margins administrators and operators have to deal and the lack of capital make it difficult to justify and in-house liquid O2 system.

Option 3: Oxygen Provider with In-House Transfill System

This is the most ideal solution for a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or assisted living facility.

Options 1 and 2 pose their own unique problems.

Option 1: The facility receives all the added-on costs of doing business with medical oxygen distributors due to the number of vendors the cylinder passes through.

Option 2: In-house Liquid O2 systems require a high up-front installation cost and specialized staff to maintain. The facility also must pay for a big gas company to fill their in-house tank regularly—so it doesn’t eliminate a reoccurring monthly cost.

However, option 3 provides several unique advantages.

Option 3: Using a medical oxygen provider with an in-house transfill system eliminates the problems with both these options.
• Your medical oxygen can be delivered to you on a consistent, regular basis.
• This type of provider doesn’t pass on multiple vendor costs onto the facility—typically big cost savings associated with this type of provider.
• All medical oxygen is transfilled using the providers own in-house system—one less cost passed down, and one less headache to manage if you are considering an in-house system.

MasVida Health is the leading provider of medical oxygen with in-house transfill system.

Above all the additional benefits of using this type of medical oxygen provider, MasVida offers same-day delivery guaranteed and 24/7 emergency order service in Texas. You never have to worry you’ll have oxygen for your residents again when you partner with MasVida.

To learn more about our medical oxygen program you can visit our page here.

Another major benefit of MasVida is we are a OneSource for all your medical equipment and facility hygiene needs. Along with your medical oxygen, we can provide you:
• Durable Medical Equipment
• Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and Wound Care Supplies
• Respiratory Equipment like Ventilators and BiPAPs and CPAPs
• Floor to Ceiling Infection Prevention and Cleaning Program (MViP)
• Hand Hygiene Program
• Cleaning Program
• Odor Elimination

Would you rather listen or watch this article?

We have good news for you! This article was inspired from our conversation with Brandi Whiteley, Senior VP of Compliance and Clinical Iniatives with MasVida. You can listen or watch this interview several ways.

Watch or listen to Healthcare’s Eight Million Seniors: A Long-term Care Leadership Podcast
• Watch the Podcast on Youtube
• Listen to it on your favorite Podcast Channel

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