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Department of Health and Human Services

Rent Medical Devices Instead of Giving Them Away

The federal government's should stop giving away medical devices that get thrown in the garbage or resold. Medicare also has a program permitting rental of equipment, but that program nees to be expanded. Medicare gives away walkers, cruches, powerchairs, and ergonomic boots to people who might only need them for a few weeks or months. Beneficiaries then resell at garage sales or throw them in hte garbage. Veterans health care, TriCare Military, and Federal Employee health programs all do the same thing. OPM could issue a rule stating that health plans must rent rather than give away medical devices that can safely be reused. I received an ergonomic boot for a broken foot costing $400, but I only used it for two weeks. If the health care costs for federal employees went down, then the federal government would have to contribute less to pay for benefits. This can be accomplished by taking a beneficiay's credit card but only charging it if the beneficiay does not return in within double the number of days the doctor projects the device will be needed.

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Idea No. 10608