4 Things to Know About Medicare’s Recent Move

Medicare Announces Support of Medical Device ID Numbers in Billing Process

Medicare recently made an unprecedented move in support of implementing medical device ID numbers in the billing process. This has been supported by the FDA for quite some time, but had not been formally supported by Medicare until recently. Here are the 4 things you should know about what this means:

1. ID Numbers in Billing Would Make it Easier for FDA to Issue Recalls

If ID numbers are included within the billing process, hospitals and large insurance carriers – such as Medicare, would be able to track device malfunctions. This would make it significantly easier for the FDA to examine trends and issue recalls when necessary.

2. Promote Patient Safety

The FDA’s ability to more conveniently issue recalls will improve patient safety overall. Recalled products will be off the shelves in hospitals in a timelier manner, preventing further complications in patients.

For example, in January 2007 Dr. Hauser (a proponent of device safety databases) noticed defibrillators mistakenly shocking patients. Dr. Hauser stopped using the device and reported it, however it wasn’t until October of that year that the FDA concluded failure of the device. By this time, 268,000 of these heart defibrillators had already been implanted.  With ID numbers in the billing process, the FDA would have been able to act much faster.  

3. FDA Instructed to Implement ID Numbers System in 2007

Did you know that congress instructed the FDA to implement an ID number system back in 2007? However, many device safety experts argue that without these numbers being implemented into the billing system, they aren’t that effective. The ID numbers themselves were an important first step, but including them in billing will make it much more effective.

4. The Move Will Not Immediately Take Effect

It is also important to note that the unique ID number implementation into billing will not be immediately effective. Medicare moving in support of this implementation is a huge step. The medical billing industry committee is set to make a recommendation by December 2016, so more will be known at that point.

Do you have any questions about how this update will impact your orthopedic practice or hospital? HIS would be happy to consult with you to ensure your practice’s stability and profitability. Contact us today to discuss.