Dominica Pelshaw is materials manager for Bone and Joint Surgery Center of Novi (Mich.), a four-OR ASC with about 16 physician-users.
Q: When did your ASC establish its reprocessing program and what type of program you have in place?
Dominica Pelshaw: Our center has had a reprocessing program for approximately a year and a half. We started with arthroscopic shavers and burrs and added ablation wands shortly thereafter. Our surgeons decided they wanted limited use reprocessing and our items are disposed of after the second use. The typical life span is 4-5 times.
Q: Why did you start a reprocessing program?
DP: Our operation is a joint venture with hospital and surgeon-investors. There were many suggestions of where to cut costs and this was an easy transition as most of the surgeons had used reprocessed items at other facilities.
Q: What type of savings has your ASC seen since starting the program?
DP: Our center has saved approximately $30,000.00 over the last year and a half.
Q: What do you reprocess?
DP: We reprocess shavers, burrs and ablation wands. It's important to note that you cannot sharpen burrs. All items are tolerance tested, cleaned and reprocessed accordingly.
Q: Did you face any challenges bringing your physicians on-board with establishing a reprocessing program?
DP: The transition was somewhat uneventful. Most of the surgeons had used reprocessed items. It is important to note that all the reprocessing companies I've worked with have stood behind all their products. We have had only incident of failure due to performance with our last company, which is similar to new items that have had performance failure.
Q: What are some of the best practices you use to maximize the benefits of reprocessing?
DP: In each of our operating rooms there is a list which indicates what can be reprocessed. All items are returned to our central processing department and visually inspected. Anything that is damaged is disposed of and all other items are decontaminated per reprocessing guidelines.
My feeling is that all items should be returned to your reprocessing facility. All the companies we have used don't charge for damaged items returned; they simply dispose of them.
Q: For ASCs that do not have a reprocessing program, why would you suggest they seriously consider one?
DP: Financially it just makes good sense. The company we presently use will backfill your order with identical product if our product cannot be returned. That means if I send them 50 and 10 do not pass their quality control, they still send me 50.
It's not going to hurt you to implement the program. You're not going to lose anything except half the cost of the product, which isn't losing anything at all. The most important thing is to "get on board" with sending everything to central processing that can be reused. You [allocate] very little manpower to reprocessing other than the cleaning of your disposables.
Learn more about Bone and Joint Surgery Center of Novi at www.ascnovi.com.
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