Supply chain issues threatening medical needs at Utah hospitals

At Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele, the staff says it's keeping on top of shortages, but running out is a constant concern. (Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

TOOELE — Supply chain issues have started to put the squeeze on essentials that Utah medical professionals need.

At Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele, the staff says it's keeping on top of it, but running out is a constant concern. The supply room may not be the most exciting part of a hospital, but what makes it in that room goes just about everywhere else.

For nearly 24 years, Bard Meecham has made sure everyone at Mountain West Medical Center gets what they need.

"We do have to plan ahead," Meecham said. "If you get behind at all, that's where you can run into trouble."

He said these days, the job is more challenging than ever. "Never, I've never seen a situation like this," he said.

It's not like any one thing is always in short supply. Meecham said it constantly varies, which has forced him to get more resourceful.

"If there's something we can't get, we look at plan B, and 'OK, normally, we use product A; maybe we're going to use product B," he explained. "Around here, everybody says, 'What's your plan B?"

Bard Meecham has worked at Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele for nearly 24 years. He says he has never experienced supply shortages like this year's before.
Bard Meecham has worked at Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele for nearly 24 years. He says he has never experienced supply shortages like this year's before. (Photo: Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)

It's just one example of what hospitals all over Utah and the U.S. are facing right now.

Add to that the fact that hospitalization rates remain high for COVID-19, some items are simply being used a lot more than before.

Tooele County alone has seen well over 1,200 coronavirus cases and more than 460 hospitalizations, so far.

"I kind of put it on myself as I live in this community and I feel like, what if my family comes in here and they need something and they don't have it?" Meecham said. "And I feel like if I have that concern for myself, then I owe it to my co-workers, their families, everybody in the community."

Meecham said the rest of us have to do our part as well to maintain that status quo in the supply room.

"Get vaccinated. Wash your hands. Do what you can to stay healthy and help relieve the burden a little bit," he said.

Meecham said these supply issues have been going on in varying degrees for about a year.

There is concern that a potential winter surge could make things even more difficult.

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