HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — Businesses across the country and in North Carolina continue to feel the impact of the supply chain crisis.
For Ed Dressen, owner of Dressen Medical Supply in Holly Springs, this has been an issue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- Dressen Medical Supply is in Holly Springs
- The Atlantic Coast Medical Equipment Services Association says medical suppliers across North Carolina are all looking for alternatives to find equipment for their patients
- A shortage in raw materials is affecting the ability to make new products and refurbish old or broken equipment
"Used to be in a week's time we would have it sent out to us or send it to the repair place, and now there is nothing I can do," Dressen said.
Dressen primarily helps patients either recovering from an injury or trying to live independently.
"When I order equipment, sometimes I have to scroll and look and see what products are available. Hospital beds was an item that we had problems with but we seem to have gotten through that for the time being," Dressen said.
While some items are making their way back to the shelves, the shortage of raw materials is making it impossible for Dressen and other medical suppliers to fix broken equipment or fulfill new requests.
"I've had one scooter on order since October that I haven't been able to get. I ordered another unit for a client and that isn't going to be available for four months," Dressen said.
The chips needed to operate equipment like power scooters or electric wheel chairs are hard to come by in a timely fashion -- for people's who livelihoods depend on this, waiting is not always an option.
"Scooters provide mobility for patients. It's one of the vital parts of people keeping their independence for the scooters and mobility," Dressen said.
Finding alternatives has also been a challenge.
"Some of the manufactures, because of the supply chain issues, has put items on allocation and if you don't have a history of buying from them, they will not let you order those items. You're excluded from that," Dressen said.
Dressen and other suppliers are also put on a time crunch due to authorizations through Medicare that expire after a certain period of time.
"That would be great if we could have more things produced here in the United States. This pandemic has definitely showed us that's been a major issue— we don't have the availability of these major products," Dressen said.