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Three-Quarters of Durable Medical Equipment Providers Have Prepared for Pandemic Flu, According to a May 1 Survey by American Association for Homecare
Date:5/3/2009

ARLINGTON, Va., May 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than half (53 percent) of the nation's home medical equipment and service providers have formal plans to respond to a pandemic flu and another 23 percent have stockpiled N95 masks or other supplies related to a flu pandemic, according to a survey of 1,500 providers conducted April 30 and May 1, 2009.

18 percent said they are working on a formal plan and expect to have one in place within the week. Two-thirds say they are coordinating or communicating with other organizations in their communities to prepare for a pandemic.

The survey of approximately 1,500 home medical or durable medical equipment providers was conducted by the American Association for Homecare. The 147 homecare providers that responded collectively serve more than 2.5 million patients through more than 1,000 branch locations across 50 states.

"Home-based care is a centerpiece of the national pandemic flu response and in a pandemic situation, home medical equipment personnel will be on the front lines," said Tyler J. Wilson, president of the Association. "Our members have experience responding to weather-related emergencies and power outages, which present risks to patients who require oxygen through devices that require electricity. A pandemic flu presents a different set of challenges, but the home medical sector has prepared for them."

Some homecare providers have had pandemic flu plans and training dating back several years. Pat Northheimer, clinical director at Cole Care in Coudersport, Pa., commented, "We had a pandemic flu drill three years ago that involved hospitals and local EMS. Projections were made with a scenario that worsened each day. It was very helpful in showing us just how bad things could get if the projections were accurate. The drill went into great detail."

Apria Healthcare, a national home medical equipment and service provi
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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