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Shortage of oxygen affecting Amarillo oxygen equipment suppliers and home health agencies

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The shortage and resulting price increase of oxygen are affecting Amarillo oxygen equipment suppliers and local home health agencies.

Amarillo Medical Oxygen & Wholesale has had to start paying employees more and have them start working more hours. On top of that they are now doing a lot more deliveries to their customers to meet the demand.

But it has been difficult for them as oxygen has increased in price about 100 percent in the past year because of the shortage.

This has affected the company’s bottom line because their customers cannot afford to absorb the cost. So, they haven’t raised the price to their customers and instead have been providing medical oxygen to their customers at the same price it has always been.

The owner says he does not expect the increase in price to go down until the country gets COVID-19 under control.

“As of now it is not going to the hospitals before it comes to us. We are considered an essential company, mainly because we provide oxygen to the home bound patients to keep patients out of the hospital. In an emergency, oxygen would go to hospitals before us, but we have not seen that and we don’t expect that to happen,” said Allen West, president of Amarillo Medical Oxygen & Wholesale.

The Director of Valmed Home Heath and Pharmacy Solutions tells me it’s been a struggle as their supplier has put a limit on the number of oxygen concentrators they can order per month.

“We have ordered a lot. They give us a certain number a month that we can order and it does put us out there to have a couple extra here and there, but sometimes we’re thinking, oh my gosh, we’re going to run out of oxygen concentrators,” said Trini Valdez, director of home health at Valmed Home Health & Pharmacy Solutions

Valdez says they’ve even had to turn down potential patients.

“We get a lot of people around the Midland area, a lot of people South that are looking for oxygen concentrators and they’ll call us and ask us, ‘Hey can you spare five or 10 oxygen concentrators?’ and we can’t do that,” said Valdez.

The director says thankfully the price of oxygen concentrators haven’t gone up, only the shipping price has.

This has also caused a shipping delay for the equipment.

Amarillo welding companies have also been hit as the companies that manufacture the oxygen have cut about 30 percent of the supply to welding companies in the Texas Panhandle so they can produce more medical oxygen instead.

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