Visit DOTmed at RSNA, North Hall B, Booth #6608 -- Ask about Clean Sweep Equipment Auctions

Current Location:
> This Story

Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Comment

Never Miss a Story

Sign up for email alerts


More Industry Headlines

New scattered X-ray method delivers a whole new view of your tooth Measuring structures as small as a billionth of a meter

Breast MR after mammography may catch additional aggressive cancers How clinically significant are multicentric cancers?

Dell announces entry into health care monitor market New device is designed to meet IEC 60601-1 standard

Will the future hold compact, tunable X-ray devices made of graphene? May reduce radiation dose and cost associated with current X-ray devices

Bilingual patients have better cognitive function after stroke But it may not apply to all bilingual people

Canadian hospital clerk who sold maternity records fined $27,000 — hospital facing $308.4 million suit From 1995 to 2014 she sold at least 14,450 records

Google Glass used to treat blocked coronary artery for first time A more economical option

UnitedHealth scaling back efforts in ACA exchanges May quit them entirely in 2017

Discover Cinematic Rendering technology A talk with Dr. Dorin Comaniciu, vice president of Siemens’ Medical Imaging Technologies

Bundled payments to overhaul lucrative total joint replacement surgery sector The new rule will be initially rolled out in 67 metropolitan areas in April of 2016

Medical imaging OEMs lobby to protect helium supply

by Brendon Nafziger , DOTmed News Associate Editor
A consortium of medical imaging equipment manufacturers is asking Congress to help shore up the nation's helium supply before it goes up in the air.

In a letter to lawmakers of both parties in both chambers, the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance, or MITA, said that the Bureau of Land Management could be forced to shut down the country's Federal helium privatization program as early as next year, taking 30 percent of the world's helium supply out of circulation.

Story Continues Below Advertisement

We want to buy your Siemens Symphony or Avanto MRI -- today!

Top Dollar Paid, Fixed or Mobile. Call our Siemens Specialist for a Quote today -- 212-558-6600 Ext. 250 DOTmed Certified

This, in turn, could hurt companies that manufacture MRI scanners and radiologists and hospitals that run the equipment, MITA said. MRI magnets only work at extremely low temperatures, and super-cold liquid helium is used to keep them chill enough to function.

"If Congress fails to step in to avert this crisis, MRI manufacturing facilities will be forced to slow or shut down production, while patients seeking MRIs in hospitals and physician offices may be turned away due to an insufficient helium supply," wrote Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA, in the letter.

Health care's helium habit

The health care industry uses about 28 percent of the globe's helium supplies to keep MRIs in operation, according to research carried out by Moses Chen, a professor with the University of Pennsylvania who testified before Congress in May.

A GE Healthcare executive, Tom Rauch, also testifying at the congressional hearing, said his company uses nearly 5 million liters of helium a year in the production of 1,000 MRI scanners at a South Carolina factory. Another 6 million is used to service machines already in use at hospitals and imaging centers, he said.

Running out

The U.S. is the world's biggest producer of helium, supplying about three-quarters of its needs, and has been storing the inert gas for defense and research purposes in an underground reservoir in Texas since the 1920s. However, a 1996 law requires the government to sell off the Federal Helium Reserve by 2015 in an effort to pay down the system's debts.

Once the debt's paid, which could happen as early as next year, the fate of the program is up in the air, a BLM spokesman told DOTmed News. Even if the reserve keeps running, however, it might not last the decade. The reserve itself has about 13 billion cubic feet of helium, all told, which at current rates of consumption should last just under seven years, he said.

Why the letter now? MITA hopes it can convince Congress to take action, possibly before the year's out, such as passing the Helium Stewardship Act (S. 2374), proposed legislation that would let the reserves stay open after 2015. However, MITA said it was worried the bill could slip through the cracks during the coming "lame duck" congressional session.

The appeal was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).


Interested in Medical Industry News? Subscribe to DOTmed's weekly news email and always be informed. Click here, it takes just 30 seconds.

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment

Increase Your
Brand Awareness
Auctions + Private Sales
Get The
Best Price
Buy Equipment/Parts
Find The
Lowest Price
Daily News
Read The
Latest News
Browse All
DOTmed Users
Ethics on DOTmed
View Our
Ethics Program
Gold Parts Vendor Program
Receive PH
Gold Service Dealer Program
Receive RFP/PS
Healthcare Providers
See all
HCP Tools
A Job
Parts Hunter +EasyPay
Get Parts
Recently Certified
View Recently
Certified Users
Recently Rated
View Recently
Certified Users
Rental Central
Rent Equipment
For Less
Sell Equipment/Parts
Get The
Most Money
Service Technicians Forum
Find Help
And Advice
Simple RFP
Get Equipment
Virtual Trade Show
Find Service
For Equipment
Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to DOTmed.com, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2015 DOTmed.com, Inc.