While many factors have contributed to the skyrocketing cost of healthcare, the rising prices of medical equipment have certainly played a role. Hospitals and clinics increasingly find themselves between a rock and a hard place — the cost of medical equipment is higher than ever, but health insurers are reimbursing at lower and lower rates. As a result, healthcare providers are looking for creative ways to keep costs down. One very cost-effective solution involves purchasing used or refurbished medical equipment.
Refurbished medical equipment is a smart way to minimize expenses, but you need the right buying approach to ensure each item’s quality. As long as you know what to look for, you don’t need to trade quality and lifespan for affordability. Here are the things every new buyer should know about purchasing refurbished medical equipment.
Understand What “Refurbished” Actually Means
The second-hand medical equipment market contains items that fall into many different categories, including refurbished, used, pre-owned, and reconditioned. Even within the refurbished category, you can find subcategories, such as “visually refurbished,” “fully refurbished,” and “parts replacement.” Before you buy, make sure you understand the distinctions among these categories. “Used” equipment typically comes as-is, meaning you have no warranties or guarantees about how well it will work or for how long. “Pre-owned” equipment refers to an item purchased new by another party.
“Refurbished” or “reconditioned” equipment usually has received cosmetic or functional repairs of some kind. A cosmetically refurbished item will have no functional problems, but it may have received repairs to improve its visual appeal. Other refurbished items may have received replacement parts prior to resale to restore them to functionality. Lastly, fully refurbished equipment has received repairs that restore it to like-new condition. A complete refurbishment typically includes both cosmetic and functional repairs.
Research the Supplier
Refurbished medical equipment can be just as reliable as new equipment as long as you purchase it from a reputable supplier. Make sure you inquire about the supplier’s refurbishing policies and practices before you buy. Here are some other things you’ll want to look for in an equipment supplier:
- A quality supplier will offer a warranty with every piece of equipment they sell. The length of the warranty will depend on the type of equipment, but they typically offer a coverage range of three months to one year.
- Financing options While refurbished medical equipment is significantly more cost effective than new equipment, you may opt for a supplier who offers flexibility with financing options. Ask your supplier if they provide any rental or leasing options for their equipment.
- Know the Features You Need before You Shop
If the equipment you’re buying is meant to replace a device you currently have, evaluate what you do and do not like about your current equipment. What features does it have? How often do you use it? Has technology progressed since the device was made, offering new features you might want? How long do you need the device to last?
Once you answer those questions, take a look at what’s available on the refurbished market.
The purchase of refurbished medical equipment is a viable consumer alternative— saving money without compromising on quality. With the tips in this guide, you now have the requisite knowledge to select the appropriate device from a reputable seller.