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Riverside taking action to minimize effects of supply chain shortage, which is now affecting blood tests

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Posted at 8:14 PM, Nov 05, 2021

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - As we continue to deal with global supply chain shortages, another industry has been affected.

News 3 received a copy of a memo employees at Riverside Health System received Friday saying the supply chain shortages are now affecting blood tests.

According to Mike Dacey, president and chief operating officer of Riverside, this shortage "involves the tubes to collect blood samples for almost all routine medical lab tests" and is the result of an apparent worldwide shortage of the resins used to manufacture these tubes.

Many of these materials are sourced from Asia, and supply chain disruptions have created a nationwide shortage throughout the United States.

All healthcare systems in the Hampton Roads area and across the country are seeing similar shortages, with many receiving just 10% of their usual deliveries. Dacey noted that health systems don't routinely keep large stocks of these items on hand.

While it's unknown exactly how long this shortage will last, some estimates expect it to extend into the spring of 2022.

Riverside's supply chain experts are continuing to seek alternative sources, he said.

In the meantime, Riverside will be taking the following steps to minimize the effects of the shortage:

  1. Starting Monday, Nov. 8, all recurring orders for daily blood tests in hospitalized patients will not be accepted. Healthcare workers may still order whatever tests you believe are needed, but they must be ordered on a daily basis. In these cases, they may order a test only up to 24 hours before it should be drawn. 
  2. Riverside will be ending the practice of drawing "rainbow tubes" on emergency medicine patients. This may result in patients requiring more than one draw, but analysis shows that this represents a substantial opportunity to conserve tubes, many of which are never processed. 
  3. The health system is working with specialties that require frequent use of blood tests to develop specialty specific protocols that help conserve tubes. 

Related: Hampton Roads feels the pinch as supply chain issues resurface