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Cutting hospitals’ vast supplies waste could make big dent in overall health costs

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A huge source of potential savings in America’s astronomically expensive healthcare system are the vast quantities of medical supplies and equipment that hospitals and other providers waste.

Read about  Elizabeth McLellan,  R.N., a former resident nurse who now runs Partners for World Health, a nonprofit that collects such waste, much of which is still safe for use, and distributes it to providers in such poor countries as Syria and Uganda.

A ProPublica piece about her notes:

“Ten years ago, McLellan, a registered nurse, shocked to see what hospitals were tossing out, began asking them to give her their castoffs instead. In 2009 she launched Partners for World Health, a nonprofit that now has four warehouses throughout Maine. Today, she and hundreds of volunteers collect medical equipment and supplies from a network of hospitals and medical clinics, sort them and eventually ship containers full of them to such countries as Greece, Syria and Uganda.

“‘This is money. This is one of the reasons why your health insurance is so expensive,” she says.

The article continues:

“Talk to experts and many agree that waste would be a good place to start. In 2012 the National Academy of Medicine estimated the U.S. healthcare system squandered $765 billion a year, more than the entire budget of the Defense Department. . ..The annual waste, the report estimated, could have paid for the insurance coverage of 150 million American workers — both the employer and employee contributions.”

To read the ProPublica article, please hit this link.


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