HHS Report to Hospitals: Over Reliance on “Single-Use” Medical Devices Leads to Supply Chain Disruptions/Greater Emissions; Reprocessing among Solutions Noted to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Health Sector

WASHINGTON--()--A new report from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), urges hospitals to reprocess medical devices to encourage and facilitate better resource stewardship.

The report, Reducing Healthcare Carbon Emissions: A Primer on Measures and Actions to Mitigate Climate Change offers a roadmap for U.S. hospitals to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050, in line with Biden Administration goals.1 Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, those coming from the supply chain, are found to cause the majority of emissions from hospitals. According to the report, medical devices are one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions within the supply chain, causing approximately 7% of U.S. healthcare sector GHG emissions.2,3

“Reliance on single-use disposable medical supplies and devices not only leaves health systems vulnerable to supply chain disruptions, as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are frequently cited as containing higher life cycle emissions per use compared with equivalent application of reusable alternatives.4,5 Healthcare organizations should strongly encourage and facilitate resource stewardship,” according to the Primer.

“We’re thrilled that HHS has recognized the role played by these FDA regulated devices,” said Daniel J. Vukelich, President and CEO, Association of Medical Device Reprocessors. “Our members encourage hospitals to view SUDs as hospital assets – not garbage because reprocessing reduces greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and cost – while making our supply chain more resilient.”

In a report issued in June 2022, AMDR found that U.S. hospitals could save an additional $2.28 billion by maximizing use of reprocessed SUDs. The report also found that:

  • Over 186 million devices (186,239,903) could have been reprocessed in the U.S. if all healthcare facilities reprocessed at the rate of those in the top 10%;
  • Over 31 million (31,390,431) devices labelled for “single-use” were reprocessed;
  • Nearly 12 million (11,913,093) pounds of medical waste was diverted from landfills; and
  • Over 9,000 (9,278) healthcare facilities currently use reprocessed devices, including all U.S. military hospitals and all U.S. News & World Report “Top” hospitals.

About AMDR

The Association of Medical Device Reprocessors is the global trade association for the regulated, commercial single-use device reprocessing and remanufacturing industry. For 22 years, AMDR has promoted reprocessing and remanufacturing as an important healthcare strategy that helps hospitals and healthcare providers increase quality, reduce cost, waste, and emissions, and strengthen the supply chain. AMDR protects the interests of its members in regulation, legislation and standard-setting.

AMDR members include Arjo ReNu Medical, Innovative Health, Medline Renewal, NEScientific, Stryker Sustainable Solution, Sustainable Technologies (a Cardinal Health Business), and Vanguard AG.

Having played a key role in the establishment of the reprocessing industry, AMDR continues to push the global medical technology industry, leading the way for remanufacturing to play a defining role in the evolution of new device technologies.

1 Sampath B, Jensen M, Lenoci-Edwards J, Little K, Singh H, Sherman JD. Reducing Healthcare Carbon Emissions: A Primer on Measures and Actions for Healthcare Organizations to Mitigate Climate Change. (Prepared by Institute for Healthcare Improvement under Contract No. 75Q80122P00007.) AHRQ Publication No. 22-M011. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2022.

2 Eckelman MJ, Huang K, Lagasse R, Senay E, Dubrow R, Sherman JD. Health care pollution and public health damage in the United States: an update. Health Aff (Millwood). 2020;39(12):2071-2079.

3 MacNeill AJ, Hopf H, Khanuja A, et al. Transforming the medical device industry: road map to a circular economy. Health Aff (Millwood). 2020;39(12):2088-2097.

4 Ibid.

5 Prasad PA, Joshi D, Lighter J, et al. Environmental footprint of regular and intensive inpatient care in a large US hospital. Int J Life Cycle Assess. 2022;27(1):38-49.


David Sheon
202 422-6999


David Sheon
202 422-6999