One of the main sources of medical equipment in Kodiak is a woman who collects and distributes it for free. But because of a sudden cancellation of a contract with Kodiak’s local hospital, she’s having a hard time storing all the stuff she’s amassed over the years.
The reason Terra Cupp shares medical equipment is pretty simple.
“I see a need and try to fill the need.”
Over the last six years, Cupp has collected and loaned out medical equipment like hospital beds, wheelchairs, and crutches to anyone around Kodiak for free. Cupp works in home health care and knows how important it is for people to get out of the hospital as soon as possible.
Before she started sharing equipment, she says there wasn’t really a reliable source of in-home medical equipment in the region. There was a particular group of people that drew her attention to this problem.
“A lot of people I found through the years that are in a hospice situation and don’t have much time left to live want to go home and die. And we don’t have the equipment or we didn’t have the equipment for them to have that last wish.”
So she started collecting and buying what she could and loaned it out. Pretty soon, she was helping anyone who needed a piece of gear. The local hospital, Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, and other organizations started calling her when their patients needed something as well.
Cupp says the way it works is she’ll get a call and then work on getting equipment to the person in need as soon as possible.
“If somebody in the hospital wants to get discharged. You know, they need something before they can get discharged. I run it up to them.”
Cupp has a lot of equipment, which takes up a lot of space. A few years ago, Providence agreed to provide Cupp funding for two years so she could rent out a storage unit.
Earlier this year, Cupp says she signed another two-year contract for the same monthly allowance of around $130. She then decided to move to a larger storage unit because she wanted to clear out more space in her house.
“I’m still in the process of getting rid of or getting the equipment out of my house. I mean, I still have beds at my house. I have lifts at my house. I have scooters, you know, big wheelchairs at my house. I have all this stuff at my house that I want to get to the storage unit.”
The new unit is more expensive, but Cupp says she didn’t ask for more money from the hospital. She was just going to pay the difference herself.
“So I should have been good, but I wasn’t good.”
Earlier in December, Cupp says the hospital told her it was not going to support their agreement anymore.
“They just said it should have never been done in the first place and the right information was not given.”
KMXT reached out to Providence about this, but they declined to comment. Without the agreement, Cupp is having to shoulder the entire price of the larger rental space. It’s costing her around $240 a month.
Cupp’s paid off the rest of December and January. She’s not really sure what she’ll do after that though. Cupp’s hoping people in the community will reach out and help her with the costs.
But if that doesn’t happen, Cupp isn’t planning to stop loaning out equipment anytime soon.
“It’s a worthy cause, it’s a need in the community, and one way or another I’ll keep it going.”
Cupp says she’ll continue providing equipment to Providence and their patients when asked to, which she says she has been since the termination of the contract.