Hospitals donate millions and millions of dollars worth of disposable supplies to charitable organizations each year. They send these supplies to companies who will sort and send the items to needy healthcare organizations throughout the world. Mostly, recipients are third world hospitals who have doctors visiting on medical missions. Donation shows a hospital’s willingness to do good for other facilities while also receiving a tax break from Uncle Sam. However, hospitals may be donating too many of these supplies.
There is a large marketplace for in date, out of service supplies/disposables, especially supplies used in the Operating Room like staplers, trocars, single use handpieces, endomechanicals, etc. These items can be resold by the hospital for cash. While the tax benefit with donation is nice, cash from resale can be used in many different ways. The cash received can be used to upgrade departments or purchase newer equipment and needed supplies.
Another factor to consider when deciding to donate or resell disposables is the advanced technology. Some of these disposable items are paired with the latest, most advanced technology version of equipment. Thus, these disposables are useless when sent to a third world hospital where their equipment is generations older. Charitable organizations are aware of this issue and know what items they can send overseas. If an item is not compatible, the charity will resell on their own and use the cash how they see fit.
Donating surplus disposables can be a good thing for hospitals. However, it is not always the best avenue for all of the supplies. A hospital must maximize its resources, and determining what disposables to resell and which to donate will make a hospital more efficient.
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