A healthcare crisis for some also could be a major safety issue after an oxygen supply company filed for bankruptcy.
For 10 years, Ellen Moore has taken pride in her work as a therapist with Rotech Healthcare.
“I would go and educate them and help them be fitted with what they need to sleep with,” Moore said.
But now, after the company has filed for bankruptcy for the third time, those visits with her patients have become non-existent.
“In the last month, I would say month, we were told from now on our oxygen patients would have to come into the office to get refills on their tanks,” Moore said.
Due to cuts in medicare, Rotech has completely stopped their oxygen delivery service to West Virginians in need. Other than emergencies and first time set-ups, patients will have to go to the Elkview location to refill their tanks.
Moore says many of her patients are disabled and elderly.
“They don’t have the means or the gas money to come in and out, but even worse than that is the safety issue,” she said.
Ayanna Hampton works for Boll Medical in Charleston. Though they’ve also faced cuts, the company still delivers oxygen to more than 60 patients a week. They have a routine schedule, with stops in more than 14 cities throughout the state every day.
“A lot of your patients are older patients. A lot of them don’t drive,” Hampton said.
One reason Boll Medical has decided to keep the delivery service and make cuts elsewhere is because of safety.
“A patient had a tank where they had been parked in a parking garage, and the tank actually when through their windshield,” Hampton said.
Moore said she fears for the safety of her patients. One transported more than 20 tanks in their trunk to the Elkview office. It’s a danger to those on the road and a risk to the health of hundreds of patients in need of oxygen.
“I always have took pride in the care I give my patients. Our motto at Rotech has always been ‘we care about patient care’, now I don’t feel like we care about patient care,” Moore said.
Rotech responded to a request for comment saying the cuts have come as a result of restructuring due to bankruptcy.