Pre-owned medical equipment can halve the cost for individuals and social security

Pre-owned medical equipment can halve the cost for individuals and social security

A new scheme in France focussed on the re-use and repair of medical equipment aims to help bring immense change for those struggling with permanent or physical disabilities, greatly reducing expenses for medical equipment which can climb to thousands of euros. The initiative, known as ‘Envie Autonomie’, offers quality second-hand medical beds, wheelchairs, walkers and other items including professional equipment which are 50 – 70 % cheaper than new.

The scheme was launched in 2018 by the Envie Federation, a network of 50 social enterprises collectively creating 3,000 local jobs of which 2,200 are dedicated to the training and employment of workers distanced from the traditional labour market. The first site of Envie started working with medical equipment in 2015, with the support of the National Solidarity Fund for Autonomy. In early 2018 the federation officially launched ‘Envie Autonomie’ with four of its members including Envie Strasbourg. Five more are to start operation in the near future.

‘Envie Autonomie’ collects, renovates, maintains and rents various types of health equipment for individuals and professionals. Refurbishment is carried out with help of ergonomists and the used equipment is sanitized with dry steam to ensure high hygienic standards. Envie is now a licensed medical reseller and gives one-year guarantee on its refurbished medical products.

However, the process of expansion has been hampered by a key administrative obstacle. Social security in France reimburses only new equipment and only partially.

Anemone Berès, President of the Envie Federation, has been advocating for a change in the system and says “Our activity could be scaled up significantly if reimbursements from the social security applied to second-hand equipment”.

Berès presented ‘Envie Autonomie’ to Nicolas Hulot, the French Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition and other high-level representatives at the launch of the National Social Innovation Accelerator in January 2018.

In April 2018 the Ministry unveiled its Circular Economy Roadmap containing number of strong points to support re-use, repair and social enterprise.

 

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