An editorial by Robert J. Kerwin
With a big tip of the hat to Captain Obvious, our hospitals and health delivery organizations are heroically dealing with a terrible pandemic the likes of which we have no real comparison for in our lifetime.
As Healthcare Business News has reported, hospitals have incurred substantial financial losses during the pandemic. Two hospitals in West Virginia recently closed. Rural hospitals are particularly at risk
, and hospitals were already spending $25.7 billion more than necessary
on supply chains.
While there are plans afloat to resume outpatient and inpatient operations for many hospitals, there are no magic solutions to ensure hospitals will be able to manage their future operational costs. For many, buying new equipment will not be the optimal choice.
Now, more than ever, hospitals and health delivery organizations need choices when it comes to safely servicing their medical equipment. For some, this means using their trained in-house teams to service medical equipment. For others, the right choice is perhaps to use the original equipment manufacturer, particularly if the OEM originally bundled the equipment purchase with services. For still others, the right choice is to use a trained independent service organization. ISOs can represent a savings of as much as 50% when compared to the OEM service charges. In its 2018 report on servicing
, the FDA noted that the continued availability of ISOs was critical to the healthcare infrastructure.
But even in the midst of a pandemic, ISOs are being denied service information access. One highly regarded ISO recently reported to IAMERS that its requests to simply change an IP address were being denied. Another reported that equipment manuals issued by a leading manufacturer are being released on a per-request basis to its own employees and that no actual manuals are being physically delivered. Though we have learned that some providing ventilators have cooperated, by and large, ISOs who are maintaining some of the diagnostic equipment, are still not being provided service access information. Perhaps recognizing the seriousness of the situation, on April 20, 2020, a Right to Repair Bill for digital electronic equipment was filed in the General Assembly of Pennsylvania. See House Bill No. 2326
. We will continue to encourage "right to repair" filings on a state and federal level. They are especially needed at this time.