By David Pendered
As a new sales tax on medical devices affects consumers, two Rotary Clubs in metro Atlanta have gathered and donated more than $87,000 worth of devices to a non-profit based in Stone Mountain that distributes them at little to no cost to recipients.
The sales tax, of 2.3 percent, is part of the Affordable Care Act. The tax is projected to raise $20 billion over seven years to help pay for health care, according to AdvaMed, a trade group.
Even before the tax was implemented in 2013, the non-profit Friends of Disabled Adults and Children had been facing a rise in demand for its products. The Rotary Club of North Atlanta and Rotary Club of Sandy Springs conducted collection projects in May to help FODAC meet the needs.
“Recent changes in healthcare and benefits programs have left significant gaps in coverage for many people with short- and long-term disabilities,” Chris Brand, FODAC’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
“Our waiting list for equipment remains filled, and our inventory is under constant pressure,” Brand said. “As collection partners in these equipment drives, both North Atlanta and Sandy Springs Rotarians helped us provide critical daily living aids for the disabled community while showing that ‘Rotary Cares’ in a very personal way.”
FODAC collects, repairs and redistributes over 5,000 home medical items every year, at little or no cost to the recipient. Donations from individuals account for many of the items that are refurbished at FODAC’s warehouse space in Stone Mountain.
Among the items donated were:
- Four power chairs;
- 15 wheel chairs;
- Four bedside commodes;
- 25 walkers;
- Other items including wheelchair trays, reachers, and air mattresses.
The Rotary Club of North Atlanta raised $77,000 worth of items. FODAC reported this is the largest donation for a single organization in FODAC’s 25-year history. In August, the club donated $27,000 worth of medical devices to FODAC.
“A main part of Rotary membership is service to the community,” Jon Yaeger, president-elect of the Rotary Club of North Atlanta, said in a statement. “We appreciate the efforts of the collection team, especially Broc Fisher, who rallied all our members to promote the event through their local churches and other community contacts. We hope this program has raised awareness of FODAC and its mission, and will continue to drive donations throughout the year.”
The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs has arranged for a permanent collection site for home medical equipment. Items can be dropped off at a blue trailer parked at the Morgan Falls Overlook Park, in Sandy Springs.
“We hope this is the first of many deliveries to FODAC,” Fran Farias, community service director, Rotary Club of Sandy Springs, said in a statement. “Our plan is to keep the collection site at Morgan Falls to provide a place for Sandy Springs residents to recycle [durable medical equipment], but we also want to promote the trailer to other organizations as a mobile resource to host their own collection drives for FODAC.”
FODAC estimates that its program to refurbish and reuse medical equipment keeps 200 tons of materials out of landfills each year. FODAC reports that it provides more than $10 million worth of medical devices every year.