what hospitals waste: why is the nation’s health care tab sky-high?
Packed with foot warehouses for American reasonsS.
The cost of the health care system is so high: shelves climb from the floor to the ceiling, stacking bathtubs full of unopened syringes, diabetes supplies and shiny surgical instruments that cost hundreds of dollars per piece
There are a few boxes of intravenous fluids and a few bags of mouth-making supplies and kits with everything you need for an obstetric operation.
However, this is not a story about the decline in the price of medical supplies.
This is about the high cost of medical supplies thrown away by hospitals.
Last snowy day, 65-of the warehouse-year-
Elizabeth McClellan, the old owner, angrily explained: She pulled a urine catheter out of a bin.
It is not opened and is valid for July 2018.
\"There is no reason to get rid of this.
\"A box of 30 new feed bags is valid for August 2019.
Amazon has the same product. com for $129.
The surgical stapler that was not opened
The same model sells $189 online.
McClellan just shook his head on a dozen slender laparoscopic surgical instruments discarded in some hospitals.
Similar used tools can sell for hundreds of dollars.
\"There\'s nothing wrong with these, none of them,\" she said . \".
Ten years ago, registered nurse McClellan was shocked to see what the hospital had thrown away and began to ask them to give her their abandonment.
In 2009, she launched the WHO partner, which now has four warehouses in Maine.
Today, she and hundreds of volunteers collect medical equipment and supplies from the network of hospitals and medical clinics, classify them, and eventually ship containers filled with these devices to Greece, Syria and Uganda“This is money.
McClellan said, stretching his arm to a variety of materials.
\"This is one of the reasons your health insurance is so expensive.
\"How to make health care more affordable, this annoying puzzle is rarely more prominent and prominent on the national stage.
President Trump and Republican lawmakers are working on the future of the Affordable Health Care Act, which has helped millions of people get health insurance.
But according to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, most Americans would rather their legislators focus on reducing medical costs. Two-
The 30 people surveyed said reducing these costs should be the \"top\" health care priority for Trump and Republicans. led Congress.
Talking to experts, many people think waste is a good start.
In 2012, the National Institute of Medicine estimatedS.
The health care system wastes $765 billion a year, exceeding the entire budget of the Ministry of Defense. Dr.
Mark Smith, chairman of the committee who wrote the report, said garbage was \"squeezing out\" of spending on critical infrastructure needs, such as better roads and public transport.
The report estimates that annual waste could cover insurance costs for 0. 15 billion American workers --
Contributions of employers and employees.
\"It is unreasonable that we not only waste money on health care, but also sacrifice other important social needs in doing so,\" Smith said . \".
Smith\'s committee blamed the obvious villains.
Overhandling, excessive administrative costs and high prices
For most of the fat in the system.
However, what is not counted is the drops that the waves enter the McClellan warehouse, otherwise most of them will be landfill.
McClellan estimates that her team currently has $20 million worth of merchandise.
Of course, this is a rounding error in the entire waste label, but if you add up the discarded items from all national medical facilities, it\'s starting to be real money.
For example, researchers at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center recently estimated that hospitals wasted $2 in a year.
There are 9 million neurosurgery supplies alone.
Nearly $3 million
Waste of material
In a department
Last year, partners sent seven containers overseas, each weighing up to 15,000 pounds kilograms, with an estimated value of up to $250,000.
A copy will be sent to Syria this week.
It includes an ultrasonic machine ($25,000)
More than a dozen trocars ($4,400)
And a baby heater ($3,995).
Last year, nonprofits shipped 156 containers of discarded medical supplies to developing countries, each worth up to $175,000.
With the debate among lawmakers, ProPublica began to document documents that were rarely reviewed --and mind-boggling —
Your health care money has been squandered.
Our first stop: \"The world of medical surplus.
\"The Cheese presented by partner headquarters sums up the great wealth of healthcare in the United States.
On the one hand, the medical supplies that McClellan brought home from Bangladesh: yellow plastic respirator masks, dirty pipes and a bloody square gauze, it became brown and stiff because it was cleaned and reused over and over again.
It says \"the sign shared by thousands of people.
\"On the other hand, discarded items at local health care facilities in the United States are the same, sterile and new.
McClellan, who worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia, her wardrobe reflects her extensive travel in the developing world: velvet trousers from China, a thick sea stone necklace from Senegal and
Welcome to the place where we have generous medical treatment.
Behind her office, she pushed open a set of swinging double doors leading to her disposable medical supplies warehouse, a gym-sized room with 20-
Foot ceiling and glass concrete floor.
Donations from Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts came in through the loading dock behind.
McClellan calls it \"gold trash\" and is usually divided into the following categories: for equipment discarded for the upgraded model, items are discarded after the hospital changes the materials donated by the supplier or the patient\'s family.
Other items are expired or cleared by strict infection control procedures, but can still be used safely.
McClellan from a messy 10-
Pile of feet waiting for sorted boxes and bulging bags.
She said the contents came from a single room in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
She poured the bag on the table as if a child had dumped the pillowcase full of Halloween candy.
These things fall into a pile of three square feet: an unopened and unexpired sterile needle, 24 sterile syringes, a pack of alcohol and disinfection pads, IV tubes;
A roll of never-used tape, a bag of IV solutions that expired on September 2018, 14 brine tubes that expired on 2019, an unopened suction catheter, and a pulse oximeter adapter.
\"It\'s normal,\" she said . \"
\"This is every hospital.
McClellan started her non-profit organization after watching the patient\'s room cleared at the Maine Medical Center, where she was the nurse administrator.
When the patient was discharged from the hospital, the hospital staff threw everything away, including unopened supplies.
McClellan got permission from the hospital CEO to take out the bin and keep the discarded items.
A year and a half later, she collected more than 11,000 pounds of her supplies and equipment at home.
Today, there are three paid employees in the partners.
McClellan is a volunteer.
The annual budget is $357,000, most of which comes from individual donations.
Hundreds of volunteers were involved.
Similar non-profit organizations are emerging across the country.
On a recent afternoon, 47-year-old Donald Madison, 69-year-old Paul Fallon, and 85-year-old William Silvera picked up a used anesthesia machine, A test table and other items for Maine Medical Center storage facilities and take them to a warehouse of different partners full of medical hardware: a new ocean
It looks like a wheelchair, a shining mountain with walkers and crutches, and a neat row of intravenous pumps.
There are ultrasonic machines, Anesthesia Machines and laparoscopic operation towers in biomedical equipment rooms.
Biomedical engineers check each item before sending it to a country in need.
Madison, head of a retail pharmacy, said it was easy to feel disgusted with the influx of discarded medical items into the warehouse.
He grabbed a $30 Walker from the pile.
\"We can get 400 more this year,\" he said . \"
\"Why do we need everyone from the health insurance company to buy a new walker\", those adult diaper trays stacked on the shelves, he sells the same at the drugstore for $11
99 or more per pack.
Farren recalled that on one occasion, they picked up about 100 bags of unopened diapers from the home of a dead patient.
\"This is ridiculous,\" he said . \"
McClellan is very sensitive to architecture.
In the tension of her mission
Hospitals are discarding useful supplies that would have been sent to landfill sites.
But they are also donating items that the developing world desperately needs.
\"They are trying to be good stewards of our community and their world,\" she said . \".
On the other hand, she can\'t look at the waste of the past.
If she has $25,000 to send each container overseas, she can now fill 15 containers, she said.
Hospital officials either refuse to comment on this or are just embarrassed to say that some waste is inevitable.
Elton Cole, supply chain manager at Stephens Memorial Hospital in western Maine, said that some items, such as a torn checkpoint, must be replaced to meet the infection control guidelines.
The same goes for the rest of the supplies in the patient\'s room.
In Stephens, the supplies in the room, such as bandages or gloves, are usually included in the room fee and are not charged directly to the patient, he said.
Health Care Finance experts say that while patients may not be able to see the cost on their bills, wasted supplies increase the cost of the hospital, which in turn makes everyone more expensive.
Such waste \"contributes a lot to the cost of health care,\" Cole said \".
\"The amount of products we ship to the Elizabeth group is amazing.
Patricia Faros, who organized a donation from the University of Vermont Medical Center to partners, sent ProPublica a list of typical goods.
Of the 100 items, the Medline Skin Staple remover ($100)
A box of Carefusion blood sets ($100 for 10)
3 unexpired Ethicon stitches ($431 per box). (
ProPublica is using the price tag of the product online because the price of the hospital and other medical facilities varies greatly due to its separate transaction with the supplier. )
Officials at the Medical Center say the waste is only a small part of their budget, and some are inevitable.
We called the National Rural Health Association in Lywood, Kansas, to see if they could use anything on this list. “Oh my gosh!
Brock Slabach, vice president of member services, said.
\"I know people will be interested in some devices.
Slabach said that more than 600 rural hospitals are under tight funding and face the risk of closure, and according to the data, some hospitals may be similar to the facilities in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, which is disturbing.
Waste from wealthy hospitals can help them survive.
\"Every point is helpful,\" he said . \".
\"None of these things can solve the whole problem completely.
But meeting the needs of the community can help.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to quantify what is being wasted.
There are very few studies, so it is easy for the hospital to say that it adds up not much. Dr.
Corinna Zygourakis, chief neurosurgeon resident at the University of California, San Francisco, studied the garbage in the operating room, saying the hospital may not like what they will find
\"It\'s not good to say \'Hey, see how much money we \'ve wasted.
She decided to study the waste after a medical mission trip to Mexico in 2015.
At the University of California, San Francisco, it is common to place a series of disposable surgical instruments in sterile areas of the operating room in case the surgeon needs them.
Usually surgeons do not even touch these devices, but they must be discarded.
They won\'t be in Mexico.
Zygourakis and a group of colleagues tracked 58 neurosurgery operations at the University of California, San Francisco, and counted discarded unused supplies.
In 26 operations, all the blood coagulation materials were not used and a total of $3,749 was spent.
In 16 years, an expensive tissue adhesive was not used for $3,495.
The screws were wasted on three cases, totaling $3,144.
She said items marked as wasted were not charged to patients and donated as much as possible.
But the findings, published in the 2016 Journal of Neurosurgery, are the eyes.
Opening: public hospitals waste about $968 and about $2 per neurosurgery case.
There are 9 million pounds in a year.
The University of California, San Francisco, reviewed all the preference cards for each surgeon that specify how the operating room should be set up before each operation.
The hospital is now certain.
Up does not include supplies that are not actually needed, preventing a lot of waste.
In a separate study of the December edition of JAMA Surgery, Zygourakis and her colleagues showed each UC San Francisco surgeon that he or
Most doctors don\'t know about surgery. room costs.
They then gave them an incentive: their department will receive a bonus if they reduce the cost by at least 5%.
The median cost of surgery supply decreased by 6.
5% of the participating group of surgeons-
Saved about $836,000 a year.
The cost of the control group increased by nearly 7. 5 percent.
\"It\'s very important to make people aware of this,\" says Zygourakis . \".
\"The younger generation of doctors and surgeons do care about these things.
We do realize that our resources are limited and want to see how we can provide the best quality care for most patients.
\"Back in Maine, McClellan said she wanted the medical community to shut her down by reducing waste and passing savings on to patients.
She invited the hospital\'s CEOs to visit her warehouse to see a huge display of wasted health care costs.
No one has come so far.
\"I want to talk to Trump,\" McClellan said . \".
\"Trump wants to figure out how to carry out the business in a different way and how to improve cost effectiveness.
I\'m sure he doesn\'t understand what waste is.
This is not a waste.
People don\'t understand this until they see how much is wasted.