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Medical-device reprocessing saved providers $470 million last year

JESSICA KIM COHEN  / July 29, 2019

Reprocessing medical devices originally labeled for single use saved hospitals and surgery centers nearly $500 million in 2018, according to survey findings released by an industry trade group Monday.

For hospitals, reprocessing a device after patient use typically involves sending it to a third-party reprocessor, which cleans, sterilizes and repackages the device. Hospitals reprocess a range of single-use devices, ranging from non-invasive items like blood pressure cuffs to invasive surgical instruments.

While some clinicians initially expressed concerns over the safety implications of reusing devices, these largely have been assuaged in the wake of FDA oversight and lack of evidence pointing to any such health risks.

“In the early days we were focused on proving, ‘How do you know it’s safe? How do you know it’s clean?’ ” said Dan Vukelich, president of the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors, the group that released the survey findings. The AMDR represents seven reprocessing companies, including Medline ReNewal, ReNu Medical and Stryker’s Sustainability Solutions.

But that has changed. Last year, an estimated 8,885 hospitals and surgical centers across the U.S., Canada and Europe used reprocessed devices.

Mayo Clinic said it rolled out a program dedicated to purchasing reprocessed devices in 2015 as a sustainability initiative.

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Chris J. Stewart

Chris currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Ortho Spine Partners. Prior to that, he was the assistant vice president and business unit leader of Medical Device Management for HealthTrust.

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