The following comes from Vance Lassey, MD (the hero of our story):
Once upon a time, in a land far away called Kansas, a word called “Vancenomics” was invented by some people in the Direct Primary Care community. It’s a word somebody came up with that is a nod to my penchant for getting free stuff, bargains, bartering, etc. I wear it as a badge of honor. If it weren’t for my ability to save money to an extreme extent, it would have been years before I could afford my new clinic–and this place is so sweet I can’t wipe the smile off my face.
A few years ago I wrote a couple chapters for Julie Gunther’s book. She was writing a “how-to DPC” book, which was given away at conferences, and recently was published. In one of the chapters, I wrote about how one of the causes of the high costs of healthcare is the tremendous waste inside the system. Hospitals often replace/upgrade equipment that has nothing wrong with it. For instance, they might upgrade a halogen exam light to a LED light, or replace $400 desk chairs that have a small cosmetic defect. And they just throw that perfectly good stuff away. And just like Sir Mix-a-Lot, they toss it and leave it and I pull up quick to retrieve it.
As it turns out, this stuff isn’t always easy to throw away, and every hospital has a person who is in charge of “materials management”. This is the person you need to know. Simply befriend them, tell them what your goal is with DPC, explain how you are going to help un/under-insured folks, etc. Offer to buy their surplus stuff at a significant discount. Odds are this person is overwhelmed with surplus stuff and storage is running out, and in my experience, they will usually give you the stuff for free, knowing it’s going to help others.
A materials management guy I know called me a month ago and was emptying out an enormous clinic. The hospital system that owned it had already taken everything they wanted, and the place was LOADED. He had surplus galore. Anything I didn’t want was going to the landfill. But, for the most part, my new clinic is now well-appointed, and I’m pretty good on most of the stuff I have. But of course, I jumped at the chance to go check out the place. This was just before helping Dr. Amber Beckenhauer host a DPCA mastermind course. One of our attendees (Bruce Carroll, MD) was just about to open his practice, and I was able to hook him up. He was about to drive 6 hours to buy a used exam table for $800. My materials management guy got him 2, for free! That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
And the doctor and his patients lived happily ever after at his DPC clinic.
The morals of the story:
1) Don’t buy expensive stuff when other people are throwing it away
2) Help a brother (or sister) out.