October 04, 2016

Senators Warren and Grassley Comment on HHS Report on Medicare Savings from Inclusion of Medical Device Identifiers on Claim Forms

Washington, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today commented on the preliminary results of an ongoing review issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning the costs to Medicare due to recalled or defective medical devices. The OIG reviewed medical records for beneficiaries who received certain types of recalled or failed devices and found costs of around $1.5 billion in Medicare payments and $140 million in beneficiary copayments and deductibles for device replacements and other procedures associated with fixing just seven faulty cardiac implants. The OIG recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collaborate with the Accredited Standards Committee X12 to include medical devices' unique device identifier (UDI) on health insurance claim forms.

"The Inspector General's analysis shows more clearly than ever that including device information in claims forms is critical for tracking failing medical devices and getting them out of circulation. Including a device identifier on medical claims forms, which a key health industry standards committee is now considering, would allow the rapid identification of faulty devices, which would cut Medicare costs and safeguard taxpayer dollars by saving lives and preventing serious health problems that occur when a device fails," said Senator Warren.

"The alert shows there's a physical cost and a financial cost to patients when medical devices fail and a big expense to taxpayers as well.  It makes sense to track medical devices on claims forms so flawed devices can be taken out of use and patients and taxpayers can be better protected," said Senator Grassley.

The senators previously cited preliminary figures from the OIG's analysis in a letter sent to HHS in March 2016.