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Where to donate used medical equipment

By Jo Lee Ferguson answerline@news-journal.com
Feb. 14, 2014 at 11 p.m.


<strong>QUESTION:</strong> Is there anyplace in Longview to donate gently used medical equipment such as walkers, crutches, etc.? Thanks.

<strong>ANSWER:</strong> I checked with a couple of the resale shops run by nonprofit organizations in Longview - the Salvation Army and Hope's Closet (run by the Women's Center of East Texas), and they both accept such items and will sometimes donate them to people in need. I suspect you'll find other local nonprofit stores will accept them as well.

"We do accept medical equipment like walkers, shower chairs, and other types of devices that assist someone in daily activities," said Judy West with Hope's Closet.

"We cannot sell or give away things that people rely on for heath evaluations, like blood pressure cuffs or CPAP machines. It is a guideline we use due to the liability involved if these devices were defective and not giving the user accurate information. The law on these types of donations changes often. So, we stay safe and use a general policy."

State law does have a say in what kinds of establishments can sell various kinds of medical equipment.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services said the kinds of over-the-counter devices you described - called "Class 1" devices, as well as wheelchairs and walkers - may be sold for resale in a thrift store so long as they are not "distressed." If they are, they can only be sold by a licensed salvage establishment.

"If the thrift store is taking in damaged medical devices that require reconditioning or refurbishing, then they would need to be licensed as a salvage establishment," department spokeswoman Christine Mann said in an email. "Our aim with licensing is to make sure that used medical devices are functioning properly before they're sold. The law prohibits selling of distressed medical equipment to consumers."

<p style="text-align: center;">*

<strong>Q:</strong> When is the new Chipotle Mexican Grill going to open?

<strong>A:</strong> I don't have an exact date, but a company spokesperson said it should open around mid-year. The restaurant's plans are still early in the process, but the spokesperson told me the restaurant should open mid-2014 at 415 E. Loop 281, where Verizon was located until it moved down the road to the Preston Centre at Fourth Street and Loop 281.

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<strong>Q:</strong> Can you provide an update on when Salsarita's is going to open in Longview?

<strong>A:</strong> Apparently this is the restaurant edition of Answer Line.

The opening is going to happen later than the restaurant originally reported (November and then January).

Rob Smith, who will be area manager for the Longview restaurant and an existing Tyler Salsarita's, said the restaurant's interior is still under construction and there's no firm opening date. The earliest the business might open on Wal Street, in a strip center in front of Hope's Closet, would be April and the latest would be May. It will be a few weeks before they have a firm opening timeline. He had previously said the project met with unexpected construction delays.

<em>- Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232- 7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.</em>

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