HomeWashington Letter2021 ▶ ATS Urges HHS to Act on Supplemental Oxygen Shortages
ATS Urges HHS to Act on Supplemental Oxygen Shortages

The ATS joined several other respiratory health organizations in a letter to HHS and the COVID Taskforce team alerting them to spot shortages of supplemental oxygen across the U.S. The ATS conducted an informal survey of pulmonary/critical care program directors and 10 percent reported shortages of supplemental oxygen at their institutions. Survey responses indicated that both patients recovering from COVID-19 and patients with other health conditions requiring supplemental oxygen were experiencing shortages of oxygen delivery systems, including portable oxygen concentrators, stationary oxygen concentrators, compressed gas cylinders and liquid oxygen. Equally concerning, in areas experiencing oxygen shortages, over half reported that Durable Medical Equipment (DME) companies are unable to accept new supplemental oxygen patients.

The letter notes that problems in the supplemental oxygen market predate the COVID-19 pandemic, but that COVID-19 is exacerbating the existing significant flaws in how Medicare and other insurers provide supplemental oxygen. 

The signers of the letter hope to engage the Biden Administration and Congressional leaders to make the necessary regulatory and legislative changes to improve service for patients who require supplemental oxygen.

Last Reviewed: February 2021