What is a Medical Surplus Recovery Organization (MSRO)?
Medical Surplus Recovery Organizations (MSROs) collect surplus medical supplies and equipment from U.S. hospitals, manufacturers and distributors. MSROs process these donated materials to ensure quality and the make them available to under-resourced health care providers through direct shipments to international institutions, and supplying medical mission teams, local non-profit organizations, and teaching institutions.
Who donates the surplus medical products?
Hospitals, clinics, medical distributors, and manufacturers throughout the U.S. donate biomedical medical equipment, devices, supplies, furniture, and in some cases pharmaceuticals. MSROs evaluate all donations to ensure that only products that meet the MSA Code of Conduct guidelines are shipped to recipients. What can’t be used is disposed of or sold to quality reprocessing companies.
Why do donors provide products?
There are several benefits to both product and cash donors.
Donating usable products expands the number of people they can help and is consistent with organization mission or individual value commitments to improve the health and quality of life for patients in poor countries.
By expanding the life of equipment or preventing unused products from going to landfills, we lessen the environmental impact.
MSROs provide quality and cost-effective services to product management and community impact programs.
And finally, donations to qualified 501c3 organizations are tax deductible.
Do MSROs only send used products?
No. Manufacturers donate new products and MSROs in some cases an MSRO will purchase a new product if an acceptable used one is not available.
What is the benefit of collecting and sharing used products?
A core MSA principle is that there should be no double standard in regard to the equipment and supplies that MSROs send to their in-country partners. For that reason qualified MSROs don’t send expired, unsanitary, broken or otherwise inappropriate products to healthcare settings in the developing world. Biomedical equipment, hospital beds, wheelchairs, IV poles and a wide range of products are discarded even though they still have years of useful life. They are often discarded for a range of competitive and economic reasons, not because they no longer usable. Older less complicated equipment may also be easier to maintain in low resource settings.
What products are sent and how are they shipped to recipients?
The recipients’ wishes are respected and determine what is sent. Only products that are requested by the recipient and appropriate for the healthcare setting are sent. The MSA does not accept the commonly held belief that any donation is a good donation or poor people need everything. They don’t and it’s important to only send what is requested, needed and appropriate. Products are typically shipped in 40-foot containers that hold on average. Many MSROs can provide smaller quantities needed for mission trips or small facilities.
Do MSROs offer products for mission trips?
Many MSROs offer hand-carry supplies to medical mission teams. Individuals or teams select supplies in small quantities and either carry or ship the products.hand
Is equipment repaired before shipping?
Yes, biomedical engineers or technicians evaluate, repair and prepare items for shipment. They also ensure that necessary supplies and operating manuals are available to help ensure that the equipment can be used and maintained. In some cases, they also travel internationally to train medical staff or provide support online.
Who receives the products?
Organizations must complete a thorough application and review process that includes written documentation confirming they are qualified to accept duty-free humanitarian aid, have the onsite medical personnel to ensure proper use and management. Once approved, recipient organizations order online or work with the MSRO’s trained medical professional to identify the equipment and products appropriate for their setting.
Do MSROs help in the United States?
Some MSROs support free or low-cost clinics and others provide products to human service programs in their community.
How are MSRO operating and shipping expenses covered?
MSROs charge a fee to cover operational expenses and shipping. These fees are paid by sponsor organizations, individuals and funds raised by the MSRO.