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With Growing Demand, It’s Time to Expand!

By eanderson

February 14, 2018

REquipment seeks an additional $360,000 in the Massachusetts State Budget for FY19. Here’s why…

What we do is the most logical thing in the world. REquipment DME Reuse Program keeps valuable durable medical equipment (DME) out of landfills and in the hands of neighbors who need it.

Since the program first began in 2014, over 2,100 pieces of gently-used DME have been distributed to seniors and people with disabilities statewide (representing significant savings to Medicaid and other insurance programs). More than $4 million worth of power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, rollator walkers, bathroom equipment and specialized pediatric devices have gone to residents to assist with their daily living at home and in their communities. Without REquipment devices, many of our program users tell us they would have few options beyond remaining in bed or at home.

Two images: left side are two men, one seated in a powerchair (African-American man). Right is two women standing, one a senior using a rollator walker.

REquipment’s power to change lives, however, is limited by the number of devices the program has the capacity to obtain, refurbish and deliver. That’s why for FY19, REquipment is seeking a $360,000 expansion, so we can crack the ceiling on the number of residents who benefit. Already in FY18, we are on track to reassign 1,100 devices–more than double the volume reassigned in FY16 when REquipment first expanded statewide. Yet currently we have just 2.5 FTE administrative staff positions, including a half-time executive director and part-time donations and requests coordinators. The handling and refurbishing of donated devices is provided by staff at 4 Reuse Partner organizations which provide an additional 3 FTEs (1 in-kind)—spread across 8 personnel—for inspecting, refurbishing and sanitizing devices, posting available items online, and providing device pickup and delivery services. In addition, two organizational partners are funded as Drop-off Centers for receiving donated DME.

REquipment is now at capacity.

A man stands next to a workbench with a wheelchair and tools

Considering the anticipated volatility of health care at both the federal and state level, expanding REquipment’s capacity is a wise investment for Massachusetts. Reuse DME is a cost-efficient and environmentally-sound approach to ensuring people maintain their independence, keep their jobs, and stay safe in their homes and out of facilities.

To expand capacity, REquipment DME & AT Reuse Program, Inc. requests an increase of $360,000 to line item 4120-4000, for a total appropriation of $9,983,606 for FY19. The funds will:

  • Add 4 new Drop-off Centers to serve the North Shore, Northeast, South Shore and Cape (we currently have them in New Bedford and Dorchester). Drop-off centers vastly improve REquipment’s efficiency with collecting equipment donations, increase the volume of donations we can achieve, and improve our turnaround time for residents.
  • Increase hours for refurbishers, drivers and site coordinators at our four Reuse Partner locations. Our partners are at capacity.  To expand the volume of donations we refurbish, 3.19 additional FTEs are needed across our four regional locations.
  • Provide new batteries for 100 power wheelchairs and scooters. These are our most in-demand devices. Donated powered mobility equipment saves Medicaid and consumers upwards of $20,000 per device! Refurbishing them, however, requires the purchase of new rechargeable batteries at a cost of $300 per power wheelchair. Often equipment we receive cannot be listed in a timely way for lack of funds for batteries.
  • Provide replacement parts and cleaning supplies for an increased number of devices sanitized and repaired, annually.
  • Increase administrative staff hours from 2.5 to 5.5 FTEs. This will bring our half-time executive director to full time, bring our part-time donations and requests coordinators to full time, and add a full-time outreach coordinator as well as a part-time administrative assistant.
  • Ameliorate an anticipated $35,000 loss of federal funds to the program.

Has REquipment DME Reuse Program helped you or someone you know and love? Tell your state representatives your story. And tell them to support the REquipment expansion in line item 4120-4000! Pay it forward so more of your neighbors can stay independent with gently-used refurbished DME.