Kansas Equipment Exchange: Increasing Access to Durable Medical Equipment
This collaborative project with Kansas Department of Health and Environment (Kansas Medicaid) works to increase access to durable medical equipment by developing a statewide recycling/reuse program. The project uses a regional network of civic, religious, and disability organizations to redistribute durable medical equipment purchased by Kansas Medicaid when the equipment is no longer needed by the original user. The Kansas Equipment Exchange program (KEE) is designed to network regional resources to: 1) facilitate prompt pick-up of unused equipment, 2) safely recondition and/or refurbish the equipment, 3) match the available equipment to customer needs and, 4) redistribute the used equipment, at no cost, to Medicaid beneficiaries, Medicaid eligibles or those likely to become eligible for Medicaid. 1. Initial Equipment Acquisition Details: Equipment purchased with Medicaid funds is marked with a barcode sticker and tracked through an inventory control program. The barcode would provide instructions to call the Equipment Exchange program toll-free number (1-866-666-1470) if the equipment is not being used or no longer needed. Medicaid automatically informs the Equipment Exchange coordinator when purchase of selected types of durable medical equipment is approved. At the time the customer receives the equipment the Medicaid DME provider: 1) attaches the barcode sticker to the authorized equipment, 2) gives the customer a card describing the Equipment Exchange program, and 3) faxes the registration form including the customers name, address and phone number to the Equipment Exchange coordinator. The equipment details and contact information are entered into a database for tracking purposes. The Equipment Exchange coordinator contacts individuals within 1-3 months of their receipt of the equipment to determine if additional assistance is needed to gain maximum benefit from the equipment. 2. Equipment Pick-up, Clean-up, and Relocation Network: The five regional Assistive Technology Access Sites and their network partners participate in equipment recovery and redistribution efforts. Each Access Site works with a minimum of ten organizations within their region (with at least five faith based or non-disability organizations such as Ministerial Alliance Assistance Programs, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Lions Clubs, Elks, etc.) to pick-up and clean-up equipment for their region. The goal is to have a broad base of support for the Equipment Exchange program and to involve groups that may currently be providing equipment closets for items like canes, walkers, and commodes. By involving disability and non-disability organizations the Equipment Exchange program reaches beyond the network of Independent Living Centers and creates new partnerships, provides coverage for an entire region, and quickly connects with persons who have disabilities as well as those who do not think of themselves as having a disability but who need durable medical equipment. Practices are in place to ensure that items are clean and safe before they are redistributed. Members of the regional networks clean and sanitize all equipment and determine if maintenance or refurbishing is necessary before placing the item with a new customer. AT Access Site staff repair items as appropriate. Arrangements are made for refurbishing from certified equipment providers on an item-per-item basis when more advanced or certified repair is needed. The Equipment Exchange Coordinator manages a refurbishing fund and authorize all refurbishing costs before the repair is conducted. All persons involved in the clean-up/sanitization and maintenance/ repair process receive training on infection control and safety. Network participants are required to demonstrate mastery of infection control and maintenance procedures. Specific details regarding pick-up, clean-up, storage, and delivery would be determined on a region by region basis to take advantage of local resources. For example, in southeastern Kansas local civic organizations assist with the pick-up of equipment but that equipment would be brought to a central location for clean-up and redistribution. In other regions, the equipment is placed in multiple sites agreeable to the network members. The intent is to give the regions latitude to develop a plan which maximizes use of regional resources and develops new resources as needed in order to: 1) quickly retrieve the equipment and get it ready for reuse, 2) efficiently move the equipment on to customers, 3) not store equipment for more than 90 days, and 4) operate the program in a cost-effective manner. 3. Matching Equipment to Identified Needs: The Equipment Exchange coordinator maintains an equipment wanted list from calls to the program and inquiries posted on the Equipment Exchange website (www.equipmentexchange.ku.edu). The equipment needed list (but not names of individuals) is posted on this website. The coordinator uses this list to match available equipment to new customers. 4. Equipment Enters Into the Equipment Exchange Program: When the original equipment is no longer needed Medicaid customers or their representatives call the program coordinator through the toll-free number. The Coordinator checks the equipment needed lists and contacts the AT Access Site in the region to arrange for pick-up. Directions for clean-up, refurbishing, and redistribution are given at that time. If the item was not scheduled for immediate redistribution, availability is listed on the project website. The website is fully accessible and links to disability and non-disability websites that serve the state. Data collected will provide information regarding: number of items in the equipment inventory, additional assistance needed, items entered into the reuse program, items requested, number of items redistributed, benefit to consumers, and benefit to Medicaid.
Sara H. Sack, Ph.D.
620-421-6550, Ext. 1783
Life Span Institute at Parsons
Parsons, Kansas 67357