Health care companies are starting to face an epidemic of overbilling for health care equipment.
The problem is particularly acute for gymnastics.
The industry is the largest employer in gymnastic equipment, and the vast majority of equipment is purchased for personal use.
The companies say the equipment must be replaced if the equipment fails, and that a manufacturer has to pay for replacement if there’s an issue with the equipment.
Some of the manufacturers charge a $50 to $150 per hour for a replacement.
If the gymnastres or facilities are owned by a medical device company, there’s little incentive for the equipment manufacturer to pay.
“The equipment companies are making a lot of money, but it’s the health care system that is being screwed,” said Steve Tullis, president of Tullisc, a New York-based medical device manufacturer.
“I have people come to me and say they’re going to have to take the equipment off the premises if the manufacturer doesn’t pay,” he said.
Health care industry executives say they’ve seen a lot more patients seeking treatment after using gymnasts than they would have otherwise, and they’re not sure that health care companies will continue to sell equipment if they don’t make good on their promises to reimburse them.
Tullisess company, for example, has seen a jump in demand after the federal government announced new restrictions on medical devices and gynecologists.
The restrictions include the ability to charge more for equipment if it’s used for medical treatment.
Health Care and Hospitals Canada is reviewing its rules and has been monitoring demand for medical equipment.
But there is little incentive to make good its promise to reimburse health care providers for repairs if the company isn’t reimbursed, said Andrew Peeples, a vice president of product management at HCI.
The company said it has a long history of reimbursing health care workers for repair work, and it’s also reimbursable for medical device repair work.
“We’re in the process of reviewing our reimbursement programs and making sure we have a robust program,” said Peebles.
“But I can’t think of any reason why you would not get reimbursed for a medical procedure, if the health service provider was in compliance with the rules and did everything that was expected of them.”
Some medical devices makers have said they will continue working with the health sector to keep medical equipment prices low.
The National Gynecologic Oncology Association has issued a call for proposals for health device manufacturers that could provide cost-effective replacement and replacement parts for its member facilities.
It said its members have a duty to reimburse their health care employees if they get injured or die.
“If you have a medical injury, then you owe it to your health care provider to get that service,” said Julie Kosti, president and chief executive of the association.
The American Medical Association, which represents more than 5,000 physicians, medical device manufacturers and health systems, also has called on health care institutions to work to keep costs down and to offer free or low-cost diagnostic imaging.
The AMA said it is working with other health care organizations to help reduce the costs of care, but said the association would not be able to provide any financial assistance to cover medical device costs unless health care facilities were reimbursed by the government.
The association said it will work with other groups to help keep costs low.
A health care device company told the Associated Press that the costs for replacement equipment would fall by more than half if the government provided financial support for those costs.
“Health care providers have a responsibility to do all they can to make sure their employees are not hurt or killed because of their use of equipment,” said Michael Lasko, president, National Health Services Group, Inc. “However, if a health care facility is not reimbursed from the government for equipment repairs, we can’t be sure if that will occur.”