baycare Human Resources Director Amy Baughman says she’s concerned about the lack of storage for medical supplies in the community.
“I know that we don’t have a lot of storage,” she says.
“If it’s not in our area, that’s a concern.”
A lack of supplies could mean the difference between life and death in some parts of the country.
A study released in April 2016 found that one-third of all Americans lived in a state where access to medical supplies was limited, and a further quarter had no access at all.
“We are seeing that there is a lot more of an emphasis on emergency services and other things that could be used for other things, so if there is not a lot in storage, then you don’t necessarily have the capacity to use all of the supplies that you have, to make sure that people are getting access to the things they need,” Baughmans says.
One of the most common causes of medical supplies shortages is that supplies are sent to medical facilities in outlying communities in need of help, which can cause the supplies to be misused or lost.
Baughmen says her department has received an increasing number of calls about this over the past two years.
The lack of supply can have a significant impact on the lives of patients.
“It can have real ramifications on the quality of care,” she adds.
“A lot of times, a lot, if not all, of those people will have a really bad time in the emergency room.”
A shortage can lead to shortages in other supplies as well.
A shortage of toilet paper and soap can cause patients to turn to other, more sanitary solutions, like a toothbrush.
Boughman says her office is working on ways to help people manage this issue.
She says that she hopes to make the shortage a more visible issue in the future.
“My hope is that when people see the shortage in their area, they are more cognizant of what we are trying to do, and they understand what is going on.”
In the meantime, residents in the bay area will have to wait for the next wave of supplies to arrive.