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Weighing In on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

EDITOR'S PAGE

Weighing In on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Have you ever wondered how much money is in a "ton" of cash? Hardy Instruments, a supplier to medical device OEMs, knows.

The San Diego-based company recently teamed up with a local radio station to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The idea was to gather "a ton of change" for Storm Aid, a charity to help those who lost everything in the hurricane. People were asked to collect their spare change and donate it to the cause.

Hardy Instruments provided a 6 X 6-ft scale to weigh the donations as they came in. Over 14 hours, an estimated $275,000 was collected—almost four tons of cash. Hardy Instruments and its sister company, Dynamic Instruments, also raised almost $4000 in employee donations and company matching funds in less than 24 hours.

Hardy Instruments efforts are laudable, but you don't have to have a ton of cash to assist Katrina victims. Medical device manufacturers, service companies, and distributors can also help. You can submit information on all products or services being offered to help with the disaster relief to ECRI (www.ecri.org), a nonprofit health service research agency. It has launched a Web-based clearinghouse to help healthcare facilities affected by the hurricane. The Katrina Medical Technology Information Clearinghouse can be viewed at www.ecri.org.

"One of the biggest challenges in the aftermath of this disaster is helping affected healthcare facilities find out what medical products and services are available and how to obtain them," says James Keller, ECRI's vice president for health technology evaluation and safety. He says that the most urgent need is for information on products used in chronic-care situations. These include dialysis, infusion therapy, and diabetes.

ECRI has asked more than 8000 companies to submit information and the initial response has been strong. However, ECRI predicts a long-term need for disaster-related information. It is asking companies to continue to submit the following:

  • Details about special donation, rental, or loaner programs for medical devices.
  • Instructions on how affected healthcare facilities can receive expedited service .
  • E-mail addresses, telephone numbers, or Web sites for disaster-relief-related information and help.
  • Cleaning and repair instructions for water-damaged products.
  • Special requirements for devices operated from backup generators.
  • Any other information that may help in the relief effort.

Responses should be sent by e-mail to [email protected]. ECRI prefers direct links to Web-based resources, along with a brief description of the products and services provided. The information will be posted on the central clearinghouse Web site. ECRI will also send printed copies of the materials to hurricane-affected healthcare facilities that may still not have access to the Internet.

Susan Shepard, Editor

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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