Oregon Launches Reusable Medical Equipment Program
Oregon has embarked on a pilot program that gives used medical equipment to Medicaid patients, Legislation sponsored by Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena and Rep.Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, was signed into law Wednesday, and allows the state to contract with non-profit organizations to offer such services.
This program is intended to determine whether equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, and oxygen concentrators can be given to Medicaid members in a safe, functionally appropriate and cost effective manner, according to OHA spokesperson Stephanie Tripp said. It will assist people in Umatilla, Marion, Polk, Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties.
“The goal is to determine if refurbishing gently used equipment for use by another client will generate savings and result in better and timelier access for more members on the Oregon Health Plan,” Tripp said.
Repurposing medical equipment that was sitting idle and giving it to people in need is a process that Darrin Umbarger knows well. His nonprofit, Clearview Mediation and Disability Resource Center, has received $150,000 in state funds through February 2016 to run the program.
“We’re going to be saving the taxpayers bunches of money,” said Umbarger, CEO. “We’re going to make this really work so we can expand it throughout all of Oregon, making sure it’s perfect.”
Clearview will clean, sanitize, repair and reconfigure used equipment, and has set up collection sites where equipment can be dropped off.
“There’s no need for the state to be buying walkers and crutches for people that are only going to be using them for a couple months and then put them in a closet,” said Umbarge, who plans to continue running the loan closet.
Clearview will also work hand in hand with the coordinated care organizations, offering medical equipment to its members.
That could happen at Eastern Oregon CCO, where its CEO Kevin Campbell has been supporting the loan closet for years.
“It’s a great idea and it's got a great payback from our perspective,” he said. “We’re extremely pleased. For the small investment we’ve made, there’s been really incredible pay back on the investment. Far more people are accessing services.”
Currently, Clearview runs a loan closet, giving hospital beds, wheelchairs and crutches to people who return the equipment when they no longer need it.
Shelby can be reached at [email protected].