SEARCH
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

Is the Mo-99 shortage over? Nordion, MURR, General Atomics form production partnership The Sterigenics International subsidiary will focus on LEU Mo-99 production process

Olympus facing suits for infection and death of patients at UCLA Olympus Corp. of the Americas is facing suits for infections allegedly stemming from use of its duodenoscopes

DoD is homing in on a suitor for its $11 billion EHR contract Interested parties emphasize "fee for value" in selection process

Patient satisfaction little moved by fancy hospital design: study $200 billion spent on renovation projects, but is it worth it?

New Product Showcase This month's roundup of the latest industry products.

Young child is first fatality in Germany's measles outbreak Berlin has recorded more than 570 measles diagnoses since October

Toshiba to unveil Aquilion Lightning CT at ECR 2015 16-row helical CT with 0.5mm element for isotropic imaging

Medical identity fraud affected two million American adults last year Increased use of EHRs contributing to the problem

Medical World Americas announces sponsorship from major industry players GE, and others, are backing the second annual conference and expo

Comparing options for stereotactic radiosurgery Comparing options for stereotactic radiosurgery

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

Dunlee - Design, Manufacture & Distribution of CT & Rad X-Ray Products

Dunlee manufactures replacement tubes for more CT systems than any other company in the industry. Philips, GE, Picker, Shimadzu, Siemens, Elscint or Toshiba replacement tubes for all popular systems. Call 800.238.3780



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.).



Related:


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

Advertise
Increase Your
Brand Awareness
Auctions + Private Sales
Get The
Best Price
Buy Equipment/Parts
Find The
Lowest Price
Daily News
Read The
Latest News
Directory
Browse All
DOTmed Users
Ethics on DOTmed
View Our
Ethics Program
Gold Parts Vendor Program
Receive PH
Requests
Gold Service Dealer Program
Receive RFP/PS
Requests
Healthcare Providers
See all
HCP Tools
Jobs/Training
Find/Fill
A Job
Parts Hunter +EasyPay
Get Parts
Quotes
Recently Certified
View Recently
Certified Users
Recently Rated
View Recently
Certified Users
Rental Center
Rent Equipment
For Less
Sell Equipment/Parts
Get The
Most Money
Service Technicians Forum
Find Help
And Advice
Simple RFP
Get Equipment
Quotes
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.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED