How You Can Support Right to Repair | Kevin O’Reilly, US PIRG
Mar 30, 2021
Kevin O’Reilly Ep
Tue, 3/30 8:47AM • 19:54
Let your voice be heard – Support SB 605, Medical Device Right to Repair Act
Kevin O’Reilly, Chyrill Sandrini
Chyrill Sandrini 00:00
Hey, welcome to HTM Insider, I’m Chyrill with MultiMedical Systems, and we’re excited today to bring you the right to repair with Kevin O’Reilly from US PIRG
Kevin O’Reilly 00:11
To step back and talk about what right repair is, you know, right repair, as I was saying is this idea that we should be able to fix our stuff when it breaks. And that means that the consumer should not only be able to fix it themselves but have the choice to fix it themselves to have an independent repair technician fix it for them or go to the dealer. But in everything from ventilators, to John Deere tractors to Apple, iPhones, manufacturers restrict access to necessary parts tools and information to fix this stuff, which makes you go back to the manufacturer themselves. That’s a bad deal. Because A) it costs more, you know, in the medical device field, this is definitely the case that it’s incredibly expensive to get a, you know, service contract with the OEM. But it also, you know, means that things don’t get used for as long as they need to, or it’s a little bit of an assault on the agency of ownership, right? Of the idea that it’s my thing, I should be able to do what I want with it. So, you know, that’s kind of right to repair in broad strokes. But you know, so like I said, we’ve got, right now we have right to repair bills in 25 different states, we’ve got right to repair bills that include medical equipment in 10 states. So you know, my focus has really been on that, as well as the agricultural side of things. And then we have, you know, members of our team who focus on, you know, doing the work in the states themselves, and then also doing kind of more focused things on household appliances and consumer technology.
Chyrill Sandrini 01:50
Right. So when do you think this started? Can you pinpoint a year when the division happened between ownership right to repair and legislation?
Kevin O’Reilly 02:03
Yeah, so I can’t point to a specific year, but I think the trend that has led to where we are today, is the fact that everything has become more computerized, right? Everything has software these days. And, you know, as that was implemented, this was an opportunity to control the repair market, because, you know, like the service, keys work in medical equipment, the same things happen in agricultural equipment, if a farmer wants to, has a problem with his tractor and needs to go in and fix it, he doesn’t have access to the service key, he’s got to go back to the back to the manufacturer. So you know, that started to happen, we started to see, you know, repair manuals that are thick, turned into really, really thin user manuals, or, and, you know, repair and service have become more of a revenue stream than a collaborative effort to make sure that we’re getting the most uptime possible. So, you know, I know that people in the, you know, HTM world have been calling for this for a long time, I think you’re going to talk with Binseng Wang, who has long been a proponent of this, and he can probably speak a little bit more to the specifics of it. But, you know, I think this issue has been around for a long time, but COVID-19 really brought it under the microscope scope, right. So at a time when OEMs should have been working, you know, closest with hospitals and ISOs to make sure that every ventilator every dialysis machine, every piece of imaging equipment was ready and up and running to help a patient. Many manufacturers continued to restrict access to repair materials. So, you know, I think it’s made it all the more urgent, it’s helped to bring some awareness to it. You know, we’ve done a lot of work at US PIRG, in response to this. So, you know, back at the outset of the pandemic, one of the things we did was, we did a massive effort to bring public, you know, public opinion into the effort, right. So, we collected 43,000 petitions, calling on ventilator manufacturers, in particular, to loosen some of the repair restrictions and got a big victory in that GE Healthcare and Fisher Macao and Medtronic did open up some of their online training and tools, but the fact of the matter is, is that’s not that’s ventilators only that’s not every manufacturer ventilator. So, you know, the work has continued. We are have now since then really been focused on recruiting biomeds. So, you know, we had an open letter and a lot of the work I was doing was to recruit 500 over 500 Biomed from 41 states to call for reduced repairs restrictions, to call for right to repair. That helped us get the attention of folks like Senator Ron Wyden, who introduced the critical medical infrastructure right to repair act which is a mouthful don’t make me say it five times fast
Chyrill Sandrini 05:04
Kevin O’Reilly 05:07
but yeah so that didn’t pass but our efforts continue and now are really focused on the states and in particular this bill in California that we think you know could have legs and could start to address the issue.
Chyrill Sandrini 05:21
Well let me take a step back now and I’m gonna pretend like I’m the OEM, okay and I know why you can’t repair my stuff because you can’t do it as good as we can do it because you’re gonna put subpar parts subpar training subpar effort into their pair you know I’ve had them compare VW parts to Mercedes parts right I’ve seen that in the field myself even around endoscope repair and I know it’s not true but let’s just say I’m the OEM and I’m asking you this question or telling you this what do you believe as the end-user right and how do you come back against that and say no we have this right to repair our own equipment because we bought it
Kevin O’Reilly 06:14
Yeah I think there’s a couple important points there so for one the FDa looked into whether or not independent repair was safe and they found definitively yes right there was a 2018 report that they issued that not only stated that you know oem in house and third party repair is safe and there’s no real safety risks to patients as a result of it that the report goes so far to say that third party repair is critical to the functioning of the us healthcare system so that’s kind of I think the first big point right that that this idea that it’s not safe is just not true but the other part is you know I have spoken with you know dozens of biometrics over the over the past eight months or nine months or a year how long it’s been one conversation that sticks out to me is Ramana Sastry who’s the head of clinical engineering at ucsf and he the way he talked about he’s like this is this is our house right these are our patients this is our equipment and we have pride in delivering the best care possible that’s making sure that our equipment is up running at 100% so that we can continue to deliver incredible care to our patients who walk in the door and that kind of pride and that kind of you know responsibility I think is in hospitals throughout the country so this idea that they would be cutting corners I don’t think that checks out
Chyrill Sandrini 07:40
Yeah and so the bottom line which is the elephant in the room right is why is OEM pushing so hard what’s in it for them?
Kevin O’Reilly 07:48
Yeah absolutely I mean the fact of the matter is it’s money and being able to have you know de facto repair monopoly allows you to control the market charge whatever you want to charge and not worry about competition so I think that’s they’ve seen how service and repair can be a huge moneymaker and they want to protect that line of revenue.
Chyrill Sandrini 08:12
Do we have any political legislative barriers out there that you can make us aware of that we can maybe help with?
Kevin O’Reilly 08:20
Yeah I think you know I think there’s a lot that can be done because there are absolutely political barriers that’s what we’re seeing right now in california so you know as this issue has really come to the national attention over the past year a lot of these manufacturers have been embarrassed to some degree they are you know have their kind of white hat position has been challenged a little bit in the fact that there has been this call saying you’re not doing everything you can do to help patients so they have come out really aggressively against our bills everywhere they’re introduced particularly in California through their industry group AbaMed has been doing a lot of lobbying on the issue and they’ve got a lot of money they’ve got a lot of influence they’ve got a lot of power so the best thing that we need to do to overcome this is to tell stories right we need to have technicians and doctors and hospitals come out and say this is the impact of the repair extra restrictions that currently exist and this is the way that it’s hurting you know it’s hurting patients it’s leading to delays it’s charged it’s costing more and that means that our healthcare system is more and more expensive right we need that truth to be told as much as possible so there’s a lot that you know you who are listening if you work in the hcm field if you work in a hospital we want to hear your stories we want to hear you speak out for it so you know we do have a letter of petition particularly for those in California that hopefully you know we can share in the show notes or somewhere but that’s the biggest thing is is to start by by coming out saying that this is a problem any you know professional organizations or your hospital talking to folks there and asking them to come out and supportive right to repair and then get in touch with me you know i’m on twitter at Kevin_Oreilly7 you can send me an email which I can leave you know with shroud made sure that it gets out there but we’ll find a way because ultimately we think that by joining it together and telling this truth over and over and over again that’s how we overcome the political barriers that do exist
Chyrill Sandrini 10:33
so what’s the FDA’s stand on this I’ve read a lot of reports what do you guys feel like the overall tone is from the FDA?
Kevin O’Reilly 10:43
so the FDA hasn’t really weighed into this issue too much right they have not come out in support they haven’t come out in opposition they have you know done some work to try and bring together ISOs and HDOs and OEMs, just alphabet soup there but to try and bring all the different parties to the table to it through a collaborative communities effort but that has not gone over so well it hasn’t been all that collaborative, to be honest a lot of the manufacturers kind of left that and I think that legislation is an important way to force them to come back to the table because ultimately right to repair bills are not about taking away their business they’re not about cutting them down a peg it’s about trying to get them to be more cooperative with the folks doing the work in the hospitals at this critical time and you know regardless of whether there’s a pandemic or not
Chyrill Sandrini 11:44
Right, and since the pandemic started are there any numbers that you guys have found that have been overwhelming in support of the right to repair act that you guys are able to show? I know sometimes even though we’re saying it always takes the facts show me the facts right where are you guys showing the facts?
Kevin O’Reilly 12:06
Yeah so what we’ve been doing really has been focused on talking to the to the biomed themselves it’s been about the biomed kind of living experience right so we did a survey back in June of 222 by omens from cross country asking them a couple questions about what’s been happening so of those you know over 200 respondents 91.8% of them so more than nine out of 10 had been denied access to service information for critical equipment like defibrillators ventilators and decision machines etc 30% reported equipment in their facilities that they could not use to do restrictions on spare parts and service information and then in addition that you know almost 70% of the respondents say that their hospital had to delay a patient procedure because they were waiting on a manufacturer representative to fix a device seven out of 10 in the middle of summer when you know I mean the pandemic has only gotten worse and well i think there’s there’s some light at the end of the tunnel but the fact that seven out of 10 had to delay procedures because of this problem is incredibly illuminating of the impact that it has but the ways that you can tell your story there’s a couple of them so you can reach out to me you can go to your state.repair.org so you know if you live in California would be california.repair.org repair.org is one of the main groups that is fighting for the right to repair a bump across a bunch of different industries but there what you can do is there’s a tool to write a letter that will immediately it’ll go straight to your legislative streets your state legislatures it also has an opportunity where it’ll call whoever your representative is so you just have to stay on the line we’ll patch you through and you can tell a little bit tell them why you’re in support of right to repair and the bill in particular so that’s a couple ways that you can get involved in that that would be really helpful but you know i think in addition to that like i mentioned before that petition that we’ll have information for if you’re in california we would love to have your name on there and use that as a way to start your involvement and really make a difference on the issue.
Chyrill Sandrini 14:28
Yeah, we’ll definitely link the viewers that our listeners up with all that information so they can get more actively involved how do you think we can get this word out farther in the community?
Kevin O’Reilly 14:39
Absolutely so I think you know I think there are a number of things you could do you know I’ve talked about the ways to get involved individually but start talking about it with the other members of your hospital right let’s the doctor she worked with know and let’s your who you report to and other departments nurses things like that a lot of because you know HTM, Biomed folks are so good at their job nobody ever knows when something goes down but
Chyrill Sandrini 15:05
A lot of people don’t even know who they are.
Kevin O’Reilly 15:07
Yeah exactly I spoke with one right it’s yeah I spoke with one Biomed who said he prides himself in being like a ninja right he like slips in there gets the piece of equipment that’s broken maybe puts in a replacement or makes the fix all under the dark of night when nobody notices but yeah so I think I think that you know there’s some work to be done to just let other people know that the problems that you’re facing and that right to repair is a way to address that and then nothing that it’s getting in contact with with your legislators letting them know that this is something that you care about this affects your work and it affects patient care all of that is really important and they are in a position to do something about it.
Chyrill Sandrini 15:54
Yeah, i think that’s really important and you know one voice is important just like one vote is important. Do you find bipartisan between the democrats and republicans in the house like who’s supporting and who isn’t is that an issue?
Kevin O’Reilly 16:10
No, I think this is really a bipartisan issue this is not about you know ideology or party affiliation or anything like that this is about you know a problem that needs to be fixed and it’s a common-sense solution to get to it so I think you know this is really is something that we see support from both sides in fact you know on our bill in California which is you know if you want to look it up it’s called the medical device right to repair act SB 605 we have an author who’s a democrat and as a co-sponsor who is a republican because yeah this that’s the this is an important issue and it doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you fall on
Chyrill Sandrini 16:50
I’m going to ask you one last question that maybe leave our listeners and our viewers with we’re gonna call it the word of wisdom right your wow word right and it’s been pretty big in 2020 and 2021 is you know my word is intent. I want to do things with intent and what is my intent about my actions personally and professionally. Do you have that while we’re that you could associate to right to repair that maybe just hearing that word might make our listeners think about “oh yeah I have to call my legislator or write that letter because I hear that” where they live by it?
Kevin O’Reilly 17:30
I think it’s urgency. I think that this is a really important moment to act because you know COVID-19 and all that we’ve been through has us looking at our health care system in a way that we haven’t looked at it before and I think this is an incredibly necessary change is passing right to repair and making sure to get these tools widely distributed to the right folks and it needs to happen now you know I think that this is as good as the chance of the chances we’ll have a long time
Chyrill Sandrini 18:01
Is there a date on that movement that you know when this might happen?
Kevin O’Reilly 18:07
Yeah so you know in California we’re anticipating that the bill will be heard by the health committee either April 7 or more likely April 14 so if you’re in California now’s the time to do it
Chyrill Sandrini 18:20
Okay yeah so one more time I want to give you the opportunity just to let us know your contact information some key maybe phone numbers email addresses websites and we’ll post those up too and links so people can get a hold of you your team and the important people to make this change because you’re right it is urgency right
Kevin O’Reilly 18:43
Chyrill Sandrini 18:44
I mean April 1 is just around the corner.
Kevin O’Reilly 18:47
Yeah, it’s coming up quick. Yes so you know my email address is email@example.com. I’m on Twitter at kevin_oreilly7 and then you know the other big website is your state.repair.org so again california.repair.org as an example those are some great ways to reach out to get involved in the right to repair movement which is growing and building and really dynamic but we would love to have you all be a part of it.
Chyrill Sandrini 19:26
Well thank you for joining us today Kevin I’m excited to help them movement MultiMedical Systems is excited and supporting your efforts and we really appreciate you I want to let you know that your efforts really do mean a lot to us.
Kevin O’Reilly 19:42
Well thank you Chyrill and thank you for all that MMS has done and for the opportunity to talk about this because yeah it’s I mean y’all do such important work and I want to make sure that you do it restriction-free.
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