ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – From the moment doctors said she would have to undergo intensive foot surgery, Prince George’s County resident Janice Joyner knew she would have to pay for more than just a procedure.
A mobility device was needed for her recovery. However, Joyner said, Medicare couldn’t cover the cost of the scooter. “I was searching online for some equipment that could help me, and I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it,” she said.
After numerous Google searches, she said she came across the Maryland Durable Medical Equipment Re-Use Program. This program provides Maryland residents with donated equipment – such as wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, scooters, and even pediatric equipment that have been sanitized and repaired – at no cost.
Applicants do not have to meet any income requirements to receive equipment. According to the program website, Marylanders with any disability, illness, or injury can receive this equipment regardless of age.
Joyner said she thought the program was too good to be true. “At first, I was skeptical (wondering) ‘Why is this place offering free resources?’,” she said. “But everything on there was true, and I was amazed.”
Disability healthcare costs in Maryland can reach as high as $21,118 per person each year, according to a 2019 Disability and Health Data report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued.
After a month and a half of mobility assistance, Joyner said, she plans on returning her scooter to the program’s headquarters for another person to use. “Before, I could only hop five steps to my bathroom and back,” she said. “Having this scooter made it possible for me to get out of bed. ”
Program Director Ian Edwards said despite numerous attempts to raise awareness for this program; many people still don’t know it exists. “We started things up in January, but with COVID fears, we weren’t sure how the program would be perceived because it is previously used equipment,” he said.