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 grade oxygen?
- Medical grade oxygen is classified as a pharmaceutical by the FDA.
- It requires a prescription from a physician.
- Oxygen must have at minimum 99% purity to be classified as medical grade oxygen.
- For medical gas and oxygen therapy, the primary considerations in choosing a cylinder are capacity and weight. Examples of cylinder types are E cylinder, M-6-cylinder, D cylinder. Most common tank size for portability is the “E” cylinder.
How is medical oxygen different from the oxygen we breathe every day?
The air we breathe is a mixture of multiple gases. The term “medical oxygen” means the oxygen is at a high purity oxygen 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.” For residents to function and stay well they require supplemental oxygen therapy.
Why would someone need to be prescribed oxygen?
Someone who needs medical grade oxygen typically requires respiratory therapy or required oxygen supplemental 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 comorbidity that requires it due to low oxygen levels within their blood and need more oxygen than is available from room air.
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 supplemental 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 trans fill 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 oxygen.
The typical slim margins administrators and operators must deal with, and the lack of capital make it difficult to justify an 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 grade oxygen with in-house trans fill system.
Along with all the additional benefits of using this type of medical oxygen provider (see option 3 above), 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:
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This article has been reviewed and certified for clinical accuracy by Brandi Whiteley, SVP of Compliance & Clinical Initiatives at MasVida Health.
In 2005, Brandi became a licensed vocational nurse from the University of Texas-Brownsville. Mrs. Whiteley spent her nursing career working with geriatric patients in LTC and home health specializing in wound care. Brandi oversees the planning, directing, and execution of all compliance and clinical initiatives for MasVida Health products and programs. Brandi also provides her professional perspectives, expertise, and direction into the development and implementation of clinical training and end-user certification programs. She is certified in oxygen trans fill operations, long term care certified infection preventionist (LTC-CIP), and wound care nurse certified (WCN-C). In 2014, she co-founded Emist Disinfection Solutions and assisted with the development of its patented electrostatic application technology and developed it’s Health-e certification program for end user training and robust infection prevention programs.