CMS mulls reimbursement cuts for cardiac devices

CMS is considering reducing Medicare reimbursements for implantable heart devices, a change that could be a painful hit for specialty hospitals and device makers, if it does in fact go through. The cuts would impact some of the most lucrative heart device categories on the market, including pacemakers, defibrillators and stents. CMS officials say the changes are necessary to eliminate loopholes that specialty hospitals had been exploiting. The agency is weighing reducing payments for stents by more than 30 percent and defibrillators by around 20 percent. Under the proposed rules, by 2008 cardiac hospitals will suffer an 11.7 percent reduction in payments; orthopedic centers, a 9.4 percent decline; and surgical hospitals, a 7.2 percent drop.

- see this article from the Wall Street Journal