DMEPOS Warriors: CarePro Health Services

Published in Member Communities on August 31, 2020

A few weeks ago, devastating storms hit Iowa and Illinois and caused widespread destruction, power outages, loss of internet and phone services, gas shortages and more. But those challenges were just the beginning of what was to be figured out and fixes for many VGM & Associates members who were impacted by the Derecho 2020. 

A recurring theme between our members is an all-hands-on-deck mentality to take care of their patients and others, and we are so grateful and proud of each and every member not only during challenging times, but for what you do each and every day!

Here is a story from our member, CarePro Health Services!

Cedar Rapids was hit with 140 mph winds during Derecho on August 10. At the time the storm hit, the employees of CarePro were at the office went to the basement for safety. They came back upstairs to find trees and debris all over the parking lot and streets. Unfortunately, some of the trees damaged employees’ cars. The storm left pretty much ALL of Cedar Rapids with severe damage and without power for most of the week, even longer for some citizens.

A critical issue CarePro had right away was that oxygen customers were unable to use their concentrators and CarePro wasn’t able to fill oxygen tanks. CarePro’s warehouse location also did not have power and experienced damage affecting their ability to fill oxygen tanks for patients. CarePro needed a large quantity of tanks for their oxygen patients that were without power, and to assist their patients served from their other three branches impacted as well. With the critical need for a large quantity of tanks each day they were able to rent some tanks from Airgas and/or had Airgas fill larger tanks to help meet patient needs.

Other patient needs fulfilled were primarily related to respiratory, including portable nebulizers and batteries for PAP devices. CarePro also provided critical replacement of other products as needed. Most of the patients they served were their active patients, but some were community members receiving similar services from other providers. They did work cooperatively with local DME providers, EMS and emergency personnel as they learned of community members with medical equipment needs. Like many other providers, CarePro had many late nights, overtime, working without power and working through the weekend to take care of patients. 

Communication was also a huge challenge. The storm impacted employee communication and patient communication. Without power, communication was limited, and cell phone access was intermittent. Often, patients or patient family members drove to the store for assistance.

Two weeks later, while most of the community has had power restored, there are still some areas without power. Today, CarePro is still dealing with the storm aftermath. They had one location just open back up as of Monday, August 24, and they still have damage to their warehouse that could take months to repair. From this disaster CarePro learned that they need to continue to consider different types of communication. They also discussed the need for additional back up locations outside of their current geographic area. While they do have locations that were not impacted as greatly as the Cedar Rapids area, they still experienced various challenges because of the storm. 

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