September 29, 2017
Last March, Senator Harriette Chandler invited our durable medical reuse program to her WCCA (community access) TV show, Beacon Hill Chat. This week we were invited back for Executive Director Mauro DePasquale’s Soapbox. WCCA loves our REquipment mission and is excited to get the word out about the power of DME reuse in Massachusetts communities. REquipment was more than happy to oblige!
Jen Baker, REquipment Program Director, gave an overview of our program and explained the types of DME we accept for donation. Stephen Mingolla, a beneficiary of equipment; and Gloria Ahumada-Zonin, Social Worker Care Manager with UMASS Memorial Accountable Care Organization (ACO), spoke about their experiences using the program and the impact it has had on real lives.
REquipment, Stephen explained, solved a crushing and unanticipated problem with his new complex power wheelchair. Stephen lives in Worcester and has a progressive illness which causes him weakness and fatigue. Although his insurance paid for a powerchair, once delivered he discovered it was too big to use inside his residence. REquipment solved Stephen’s problem by providing a powerchair that meets his unique needs. Stephen found the chair at the REquipment online inventory (www.dmerequipment.org) and we were able to approve his request and deliver within just one week! Now, he feels confident and independent home alone.
As a nurse care manager at UMASS Memorial Accountable Care Organization in Worcester, Gloria and 15 other care managers coordinate services for people leaving the hospital or rehabilitation. REquipment, she says, is helping people discharge safely without unnecessary delays. Care managers routinely check the REquipment inventory when the equipment people need is not covered by insurance or when waiting for approval.
One story she told was of an elderly man who’d ordered a transport wheelchair for his wife through insurance. The chair was lightweight and made it possible for him to load into the car when they left rehab. Soon, however, his wife grew stronger and wanted to propel the wheelchair herself, something transport chairs are not designed to do. Since their insurance would not purchase a second wheelchair for five years, REquipment came to the rescue. A UMASS ACO care manager helped the couple find and order a manual chair with large wheels and handrims through our inventory.
Both of these stories illustrate how REquipment makes a difference for individuals when a second mobility device is needed, a common occurrence. Indeed, the UMASS ACO says that REquipment device recipients report, overall, an increase in their ability to participate in their communities. This includes access to shopping, church, medical appointments and other life-sustaining activities.
Soapbox was a terrific opportunity for REquipment to get on our soapbox, tell these stories, and make the case for helping REquipment thrive and grow. Thanks again to Stephen Mingolla and Gloria Ahumada-Zonin for using their time for the cause!