Are there really rules that require hospitals to throw away good supplies?

Sure, if they are at all useful towards their ongoing care. The example I used was surgeons cracking a cardiac catheter kit just to get to the catheter. The patient would not find any use in the rest of the kit. “Look at my cool little plastic tray full of $500 of tubing and odd-shaped doomaflajees”.

To clarify, the unused supplies from a surgery that are still sealed and intact were (usually) credited to a patients bill, and (usually) a patient was only charged for the catheter if a cath kit had to be opened just for the catheter.

My clinic is like this. We have several RN clients who bring us discarded hospital supplies. It’s like Christmas whenever we get a box. Once I found a perfectly good pair of gold-plated Heger-Olsens (my precioussss)-- we vet techs are delighted with such things.

They bring us bandage materials and sterile dressings, povidone sol and scrub, OR towels, disposable instruments, skin staplers, IV catheters and set-ups, irrigation syringes, suture/staple removal kits, and so on. None of it is ever expired, and either the sterility is intact or it’s autoclavable.

Most of the goodies seem to come as parts of larger kits that, once opened, cannot be used on another patient. The nurses say that if they didn’t bring it to us it would go in the trash.