GAO re­port link­ing doc in­flu­ence to high prices irks de­vice­mak­ers

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

De­vice­mak­ers crit­i­cized a new re­port from the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice find­ing that physi­cian in­flu­ence on hospi­tal pur­chas­ing may cause hos­pi­tals to pay more for some im­plantable med­i­cal de­vices. Health­care Sup­ply Chain As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Cur­tis Rooney, though, said in a state­ment that the find­ings high­light what hos­pi­tals and group pur­chas­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions al­ready know: “Med­i­cal de­vice pric­ing se­crecy de­creases com­pe­ti­tion” and “ar­ti­fi­cially drives up health­care costs.” The GAO an­a­lyzed the prices that 31 hos­pi­tals paid for car­diac de­vices and found a “sub­stan­tial vari­a­tion” in the low­est and high­est prices that a hospi­tal paid and noted that physi­cians with strong pref­er­ences may limit a hospi­tal’s abil­ity to re­ceive vol­ume dis­counts. For ex­am­ple, for hos­pi­tals that pro­vided the GAO with pric­ing in­for­ma­tion about au­to­mated im­plantable car­dioverter de­fib­ril­la­tors, the dif­fer­ence be­tween the low­est and high­est price paid for one prod­uct was $8,723. The Ad­vanced Med­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment that it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to make public pol­icy con­clu­sions from the re­port, call­ing the hospi­tal ne­go­ti­a­tions for de­vices “com­plex and highly com­pet­i­tive.” The GAO noted that sev­eral hos­pi­tals and GPOS did not pro­vide de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about prices, cit­ing the ef­fect of re­bates and dis­counts on pric­ing and con­fi­den­tial­ity clauses be­tween hos­pi­tals and man­u­fac­tur­ers. The re­port said that with­out avail­able data to com­pare the costs of cer­tain de­vices, it is dif­fi­cult for hos­pi­tals to ed­u­cate physi­cians about how pref­er­ence can af­fect pric­ing.

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