Patients needing home IV nutrition fear dangerous shortages

By Arthur Allen: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The fear started when patients saw their nurses and dietitians posting job searches on LinkedIn.

Word spread to Facebook groups, and patients started calling Coram CVS, a U.S. supplier of the compounded IV nutrients upon which they rely for survival. CVS Health confirmed on June 1 it was closing half its Coram home infusion branches and firing about 2,000 nurses, dietitians and pharmacists.

Their patients with life-threatening digestive disorders depend on parenteral nutrition, or PN — in which amino acids, sugars, fats, vitamins and electrolytes typically are pumped through a catheter into a large vein near the heart.

A day later Optum Rx, another big supplier, announced its own consolidation. Suddenly, thousands were scrambling for their complex essential drugs and nutrients.

“With this kind of disruption, patients can’t get through on the phones. They panic,” said Cynthia Reddick, a senior nutritionist laid off last summer in the CVS restructuring.

“It was very difficult. Many emails, many phone calls, acting as a liaison between my doctor and the company,” said Elizabeth Fisher Smith, a 32-year-old public health instructor in New York, whose Coram branch closed. A rare medical disorder has forced her to rely on PN for survival since 2017. “It added to my mental burden,” she said.

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