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Endoscope Repair Program Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are endoscopes?

  2. What causes endoscope "failures"?

  3. Why does VA operate its own in-house endoscope repair program?

  4. How can the SDC offer excellent cost-savings for customers?

  5. How does the SDC assure quality in its endoscope repair program?

  6. How long does it take for the SDC to repair an endoscope?

  7. Can I request a loaner endoscope while my endoscope is being repaired?

  8. What types of payment does the SDC accept?

1.  What are endoscopes?

Endoscopes are miniature, elongated microscopes that physicians use to perform minimally invasive procedures on patients - in their hollow organs or internal canals.  Endoscopes may be rigid or flexible.  Both are delicate, precision instruments.  Most flexible endoscopes contain systems to deliver light, suction, air and water.  Another internal system makes it possible for the physician to control bending of the instrument, referred to as distal-end angulation.  Flexible endoscopes contain either an electronic video camera chip or glass fibers to produce or “return” images for the physician to view.  Rigid endoscopes deliver light through thin stainless-steel tubes and “return” images through glass lenses.

2.  What causes endoscope "failures"?

Causes range from normal use and sterilization to improper use and handling.  Rigid endoscopes are susceptible to housing, lens and lighting system failures.  Flexible endoscopes are susceptible to leaks, tears, kinks, buckling, lighting and angulation problems.

3.  Why does VA operate its own in-house endoscope repair program?

VA decided to open an in-house endoscope repair service in 1991 after calculating that the high cost of repairing flexible endoscopes.  The endoscope repair program now offers VA and DOD customers repair options as well as payment options.  For example, if a flexible scope requires major OEM repair, the VA Service and Distribution Center (VASDC) can greatly reduce turnaround time by utilizing one of its Blanket Purchase Agreements.  In addition, the VASDC accepts various payment options such as Government Purchase Cards, Billable Purchase Orders, Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPR) and VA Form 1358’s.

4.  How can the SDC offer excellent cost-savings for customers?

Several factors combine to make this possible.  First, the SDC maintains a highly experienced and qualified staff, capable of providing an accurate diagnosis of any endoscope problem.  Our staff thoroughly inspects each endoscope to determine the minimum repair necessary to return the item to safe operating condition.  Costly major overhauls are recommended only when necessary.  Whenever appropriate, the SDC replaces individual components rather than completely rebuilding the instrument.  Our competitors routinely perform and charge you for a complete overhaul every time an endoscope is sent for repair.  Next, the high-quality repair work performed by our team of experts minimizes the potential for new problems and prolongs the operational life expectancy of the instrument.  In addition, we provide customers with training on proper maintenance and handling of their endoscope.  With this knowledge, they can properly operate the instrument to prevent inadvertent damage.

5.  How does the SDC assure quality in its endoscope repair program?

All the VASDC technicians are factory-trained with an average of over twenty years of professional experience.  When proprietary parts are required, the VASDC uses contracted manufacturer services to perform certain major overhauls.  In addition, the VASDC operates a rigorous quality assurance program and all repairs are backed by a 90-day warranty.

6.  How long does it take for the SDC to repair an endoscope?

Most minor repairs can be completed within 48 hours.  Once approved, major rebuilds can take 10-14 business days, providing replacement parts are in stock.

7.  Can I request a loaner endoscope while my endoscope is being repaired?

The SDC does not offers loaner scopes but will work with the customer to ensure timely turn-arounds on repairs.

8.  What types of payment does the SDC accept?

Use of the VA Form 1358 is the preferred option for repairs, particularly those that exceed the purchase card threshold.  The greatest advantage to this option is that it is not a procurement and does not require action by a contracting officer; and because it is a tool to reimburse the Service and Distribution Center, there is no requirement to seek other pricing.  The VASDC also accepts your government credit card, billable purchase order, or Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request (MIPR) number.  It is important to note that the VASDC is registered with the U.S, Federal System for Awards Management (SAM), {(DUNS) # 79-453-1558, Cage Code 1MYN2 and Tax ID 74161229}.  Customers from DoD and other government agencies who wish to use another payment method should call (708) 786-7670.