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ProPublica Examines How U.S. Medical Surplus Pushes Up Cost Of Health Care, Is Redirected Overseas By Non-Profit Groups

ProPublica: What Hospitals Waste
“…[Partners for World Health founder Elizabeth] McLellan estimates the goods [donated to her group by several U.S. hospitals] right now are worth $20 million. Sure, that’s a rounding error in the overall waste tab, but it starts being real money if you add up the discards of all the nation’s medical facilities. … Last year Partners sent seven containers overseas, each weighing up to 15,000 pounds and with an estimated value of up to $250,000. One is being sent to Syria this week. It includes an ultrasound machine ($25,000), a dozen trocars ($4,400), and an infant warmer ($3,995). MedShare, a Georgia-based nonprofit more than 10 times the size of Partners, sent 156 containers of discarded medical supplies to developing countries last year, each one worth as much as $175,000. As lawmakers debate, ProPublica is setting off to document the rarely examined — and mind-boggling — ways your health care dollars are frittered away. Our first stop: the world of ‘medical surplus’…” (Allen, 3/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.