COVID-19 and a BMET’s right to repair

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COVID-19 and a BMET’s right to repair

August 14, 2020
HTM Parts And Service
From the August 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

This $5,000 spent on the back end has offset nearly $20,000 in front end hospital income from patient, insurance company and government payers. I am well skilled in energy device support and PM, and could easily do this PM in 30 minutes for a vastly lower cost to the healthcare system. Avoidable costs like this compound daily in hospitals everywhere. Most, if not all BMETs can share similar experiences.

Collaborating to bring real value to hospitals
The “right to repair” issue has been dividing hospital-based service providers and medical equipment manufacturers for some time now. Key turning points occurred when CMS incorporated NFPA-99 by reference and when the FDA issued the May 2019 FDARA 710 report that found that medical equipment repair by hospital biomeds and third-party companies was safe, effective and essential to the healthcare industry. It would also be very helpful if our nation’s FDA were to adopt NFPA-99 by reference and support the fair-trade concepts presented in this article and modify their regulatory frameworks in support of these concepts.

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Materials management groups should also become more actively involved in securing the hospital’s right to repair by stipulating that access to parts, service manuals and digital service keys be provided as a condition of purchase in all purchase orders. These should be featured components of all vendor agreements. Vendor access systems should have visiting sales reps attest they understand these requirements and accept these terms on behalf of their company. There should be clear and open channels healthcare technology managers can use to communicate to materials managers in cases when a vendor has not met these key elements of the purchase order, and implement any steps needed to bring the vendor into contract and/or regulatory compliance.

J. Scot Mackeil
COVID-19 and the danger of spreading deadly infectious disease has provided further evidence of the need to move away from the existing medical device service paradigm and toward greater support for hospitals and their in-house service teams. It is my hope that by working together, lawmakers and regulators will usher in a new era where equipment manufacturers and in-house service teams partner with the basic goal of improving patient safety and reducing healthcare costs.

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