May 6, 2022

A message for all Tufts Medicine Employed Clinicians and Tufts Medicine Integrated Network Members, including primary and specialty care physicians, practice administrators, and other Network leaders

Worldwide Temporary Shortage of Iodinated Contrast for CT Scans/Angiograms
COVID-19 related production and transportation issues have resulted in a world-wide critical shortage of iodinated IV contrast. These contrast agents are used for CT scans and angiograms. 
Tufts Medicine Impact
Tufts Medicine entities, including Lowell General Hospital and MelroseWakefield Hospital, are experiencing interruptions in deliveries and reductions in available supplies.
The shortage will directly affect radiology – both diagnostic and interventional, interventional cardiology, endoscopy, and vascular surgery. Services that will see a significant impact on the types of studies they are used to ordering include the ER, neurology and oncology. All services will be affected to some degree. We do not know when this shortage will end, and at normal usage rates, we are likely to run out of current supplies in the next 2-4 weeks.
Response and Action Taken
We have activated a system-wide Tufts Medicine Incident Command team with representation from all entities. Already this team has taken several actions, including:
  • Implementation of dispensing and packaging changes to reduce waste of contrast and conserve current supplies;
  • Development of an algorithm that substitutes non-contrast studies or alternative imaging modalities; and
  • Development of analytics to track days on hand, demand, burn rates, etc.

This team has also decided to treat our current contrast supply as a Tufts Medicine inventory and share it across the system, with radiology physicians having the final say on when contrast is used or not. We will continue to leverage MRI, US and other modalities and will set aside a designated amount of contrast to be held in reserve for certain emergent situations.

We will continue to monitor and report to you on this shortage, and the actions we are taking to address it. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to manage through this challenging situation.

Please contact your organization’s Chief Medical Officer with any additional questions. 
Michael Wagner, MD, FACP
Chief Physician Executive
Tufts Medicine
The Tufts Medicine Integrated Network is a distinctively different population health enterprise and value-based care contracting entity. It comprises 2,300 primary care and specialist physicians and advanced practice clinicians, working as Tufts Medicine employees or in private practice, delivering care in community and hospital settings. The Network’s purpose is to build healthier communities and to create healthy, rewarding experiences for our members and care teams. The Network was launched in July 2021 by building upon the legacies of two long-standing, high-performing organizations – Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization and New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA).

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