Reprocessing Wars

Reprocessing Wars

May 9th, 2011

Outpatient Surgery Magazine

May 2011

Dan O’Connor, Editor-in-Chief

Stacy Howard, RN, MHA, MBA, has major purchasing power. She buys all of the operating room and general medical supplies for the Sisters of Mercy Health System’s 28 hospitals in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Her budget is huge, millions and millions huge, and she’s spending more and more of it on reprocessed single-use devices. Last year, she saved Mercy $1.7 million by buying refurbished trocars, pulse oximetry probes, GI forceps and the like, sparing her budget and the landfill — and drawing the ire of some of her surgical supply vendors.

…Reprocessing has mushroomed into a big business. It’s now a $250 million-a-year industry. It’s estimated that 70% of hospitals and a growing number of ambulatory surgical centers partner with third-party reprocessors that disassemble, clean, inspect, certify, sterilize and restore devices so that they’re equally safe and functional as when originally manufactured when they’re returned to your facility. The FDA considers third-party reprocessors to be original manufacturers.

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