Kirby Harvey, RT, ST
We recently sent out $4,000 worth of single-use devices for reprocessing and received most of them back for $1,600. Not bad, right? FDA-approved third-party vendors safely reprocess many of your most common disposables and sell them back to you for half to one-third the cost of new. It’s a relatively easy way to cut overhead costs without compromising patient safety, and yet many surgical facilities still aren’t taking advantage of it. I’ve found that there are 2 big hurdles to clear when transitioning from single-use-only to reprocessing: getting buy-in from surgeons and staff, and finding the right service to suit your needs.
…To get your staff and surgeons on board with reprocessing SUDs, make it about more than the money. Be confident that if your family member came in for surgery tomorrow, you’d be comfortable with having a reprocessed single-use device used in the case. At the end of my study, neither I nor the surgeons or staff were in doubt about that.
Take your time investigating the options and negotiating with the different reprocessing companies. In my experience, the pricing does not vary greatly among the companies offering this service. They all offer about one-half to one-third the actual acquisition costs from the distributors. It’s what they put behind the service that will make the difference. Getting the most out of your reprocessing program requires some patience and a careful exploration of the options.
…Reimbursements for some of the highest volume procedures are down. Supply and equipment costs are soaring. And many patients, forced to pay more out-of-pocket co-pays and expenses for surgery, are putting off not only elective surgery, but necessary procedures as well. Reprocessing single-use devices can help you deal with those stark realities. Skeptics may claim that reprocessing single-use devices is cheating or endangering patients. Aside from the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, reprocessing actually has an added benefit for the patient: cost savings. In today’s world of skyrocketing premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses, reducing the cost of surgery is not just about your bottom line. It’s an advantage to the patient, too. Always remain patient-focused, both medically and financially, and reprocessing SUDs will be a win-win strategy for both your facility and your patients.