The National Home Oxygen Patients Association was established in the late 1990s to give the more than one million supplementary oxygen users in the United States the information necessary to lead productive lives. The Association is managed by a core group of oxygen users that make up the NHOPA Board of Directors. Their efforts are supported through additional volunteer work of nationally recognized physicians, equipment suppliers, and manufacturers, all of whom provide important resources to the Association.
While still a relatively small organization, the NHOPA continues to grow as it becomes better known throughout the pulmonary community. Members of our board both attend and present at national conferences focusing on oxygen usage.
Perhaps our most visible activity has been related to airline oxygen. While this activity spanned nearly a decade of work, we can now see major successes. Passengers that require supplementary oxygen during flight can now bring their own Department of Transportation approved oxygen devices on board most airlines. These must be “approved devices” and currently include numerous portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) by an array of manufacturers.
As part of that effort, we also worked with the Transportation Security Administration to ensure that all guards staffing checkpoints in the United States were thoroughly briefed on the wide range of oxygen devices that can be brought through security checkpoints, regardless of the decision of airlines to allow certain devices on board for passenger use.
Education is also part of our effort. We have updated and released in January 2013 our excellent handbook, “Understanding Oxygen Therapy.” This publication provides oxygen users with a basic understanding of oxygen therapy and is available to all our user members. To view this publication, click on the following link: Understanding Oxygen Therapy. All new members will receive a copy when they join NHOPA.
We continue to work with policymakers in the U.S. Congress and at Medicare to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to clinically appropriate oxygen systems that not only meet their medical needs but also fit into the varying lifestyles of oxygen users. The ongoing availability of lightweight liquid systems along with newer portable oxygen concentrators and transfilling systems that use lightweight compressed oxygen all provide a challenge to Medicare – making sure that the payment system for oxygen providers keeps pace with new and innovative technologies.