By Chuck Overeem
Equipment disposition is the process by which equipment is removed from use and physically removed from a hospital or clinic. There are several reasons to remove equipment. It may be underutilized, obsolete and out of support. There may be newer technology that fits your needs or customer base. In either case, it has to go. Properly disposing of this equipment can help defray the cost of new equipment or simply help recover lost space to provide services. Always assume that an item has value until you prove that it doesn’t.
There are several ways to dispose of equipment. Each has its own merit.
The disposition option that is chosen could mean thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue or cost avoidance to a hospital in the course of a year.
No matter what disposition option you choose, several steps should be followed.
As stated earlier, properly disposing of equipment has several benefits for any organization.
Retiring and disposing of old equipment that is costly to maintain saves time and money on repairs as well as aggravation for the hospital staff and patients.
Disposition of equipment opens valuable hospital real estate and allows you to expand existing programs or even open new ones without a costly building project.
Disposition of equipment allows for the purchase of newer equipment.
Proper disposition reclaims the value left in equipment that you no longer use.
If you do not have a disposition program, start one by assigning someone or hiring someone to lead the charge and be the point person for all departments. From this point forward, before any equipment is disposed of, this person needs to be made aware so he/she can determine how to proceed. This person will decide if the item can be redeployed, sold or scrapped. Before new equipment is purchased and old equipment is traded-in, this person should try to sell the old equipment. If they can beat the trade-in then sell it, if not take the trade. This point person can do the required documentation to properly retire the equipment. After the program is established, it could even be expanded to other hospital equipment, including environmental services equipment and food services equipment. All of this equipment, just like medical equipment, gets old, needs to be replaced and still has some value. Our hospital has sold ice cream and gelato machines as well as floor scrubbers and sweepers.
A properly run disposition program regains value from unused and underutilized assets helping to defray the cost of new equipment. It helps regain valuable hospital real-estate so that it can be used for more productive purposes than storage. It helps keep your equipment inventory current. It allows the hospital to actively redeploy equipment and avoid the cost of purchasing duplicate equipment. It can even garner good will in the community and allow you to help the underserved in the community by donating your used equipment.
Chuck Overeem is a Biomedical Equipment Lifecycle Planner for ProHealth Care.
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