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Business Review Western MI
Business Review Western MI
Old hospital equipment gets new life
(2008-05-02)
(wgvu) - Old hospital equipment gets new life

May 1, 2008

By Mark Sanchez
marks@mbusinessreview.com

In the warehouse sits stacks of hospital gurneys, packed in wood crates
and ready for shipment.

In another section of the building, technicians fix up ultrasound and
anesthesia machines, preparing them for use around the world.

In another area, endoscopy cabinets await work, some of them destined
for hospitals and care providers in Africa.

All the equipment came to International Aid through donations from
hospitals, primarily in western Michigan.

The Spring Lake-based not-for-profit refurbishes the used medical
equipment and puts it to use at hospitals in Third World countries where
there's no lack of need, said Pete DeKryger, International
Aid's director of medical equipment services.

International Aid, a Christian relief and development organization, has
collected used medical equipment for years.
Metro Health Hospital recently donated seven truckloads of equipment
including stretchers, operating room lights, bedside tables and
cabinets when it moved to its new facility.

International Aid also has a standing partnership with Spectrum Health
in Grand Rap ids to take used medical equipment and has received
donations from many others in the region and across the country.

Equipment or medical devices that are replaced with new equipment or
is outdated for the United States health system, it has many uses left
in it for Third World countries, said DeKryger, who drove to Mad
ison, Wis., last week to pick up 45 used anesthesia machines donated by
General Electric's health-care unit.

International Aid not only refurbishes equipment but ensures that the
wiring and plugs are compatible with the electric systems in the
countries for which they are intended, said Brian Barker, a senior
biomedical technician.

Barker joined International Aid last fall, seven years after first
connecting with the organization while working as a contracted
technician at Garden City Hospital.

I was trying to figure out what to do with equipment so it didn't
go to landfills, Barker said. It still works. What are we going to
do with it?

He found his answer when he met Jim Loeffler, International Aid's
director of medical equipment procurement who gave a presentation at a
meeting of the Michigan Society of Clinical Engineers.

Everything clicked then, Barker said.

Loeffler estimates the gift-in-kind value of medial equipment and
devices donated to International Aid, including depreciation, at roughly
$4 million to $5 million annually. The market value is much higher, he
said.

International Aid does not charge for the equipment per se but does
charge recipients a one-time service fee for the labor and parts during
refurbishing, Loeffler said. That includes three years of parts and
technical support.

Even with the service fee, recipients receive the equipment at a
substantial discount. A used anesthesia system that sells for $12,000 to
$15,000, for example, would only cost a recipient about $4,500 in a
service fee, he said.
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