Texas: Is equipment reuse program a non-starter?

Friday, October 25, 2013

DALLAS – The state’s plans to create a reuse program for home medical equipment just don’t make sense, say HME providers. 

“After people use this equipment, it’s not in very good shape and unsanitary,” said Barry Johnson, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Home Care Services and president of Duncanville, Texas-based Texas Medical. “Who’s going to be responsible for collecting it, cleaning it and repairing it? Where are they going to warehouse it?”

In June, Governor Rick Perry signed into law a bill that requires the state’s Health and Human Services Commission to create a reuse program for HME. The exact details haven’t been released, but the law was effective Sept. 1.

Johnson said his company doesn’t put out used equipment because of liability issues, and he recommends to customers that they don’t buy it for safety reasons. 

“I don’t think (the state) understands the complexity,” he said. 

Texas isn’t the first state to try a reuse program for home medical equipment. Kansas currently has one in place, but Rose Schafhauser, executive director of the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services, says it’s gone nowhere. 

“They really haven’t done anything with the program,” she said. “Their Medicaid has switched to managed care, so it may not even exist much longer.” 

That’s what providers say will probably happen in Texas.

“Texas Medicaid is mostly managed care, and by next September, it pretty much all will be,” said Britt Peterson, CEO of Austin, Texas-based Longhorn Health Solutions. “It seems like they’re going to spend a lot of money on a program no one will be in.”