Healthcare Roundup—VA launches national medical device registry; Payer-provider partnership trend continues

Military health
The VA has partnered with other federal agencies to launch a medical device registry. (vadimguzhva)

VA launches national registry for medical devices 

The Department of Veterans Affairs is teaming up with several other federal agencies to launch a nationwide medical implant tracking program. 

The collaboration between the VA and the Department of Defense, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration will allow the VA to better monitor the safety of implant devices and track quality metrics, officials said. 

The registry will also allow the agency to contact patients more easily in the event of a recall, identify devices when patients come to appointments and compare the outcomes for different implants. (Announcement)

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Payers, providers continue partnership trend 

Payers and providers have teamed up for 22 product partnerships so far in 2018, almost matching the number launched in all of 2017, according to a new analysis from Oliver Wyman Health. 

Payers and providers partnered on new products 28 times last year, according to the report. There has been a significant increase in fully cobranded or joint venture products since Oliver Wyman began tracking this trend in 2016, according to the analysis. That year, 57% of partnerships were on joint ventures or cobranded products, compared to 71% in 2017 and 73% so far this year. 

Pennsylvania and California have been the most active states for this partnership activity since 2016, according to the report, with 10 products launching in the Keystone State and nine launching in the Golden State. (Report

Supreme Court tosses ruling that allowed immigrant teen's abortion 

The Supreme Court on Monday granted the Department of Health and Human Services' request to overturn a federal appeals court's ruling that immigrant teens have a right to seek abortions. 

The justices, in an unsigned order with no recorded dissent, said the case was irrelevant as the young woman involved had an abortion before the case reached the Supreme Court. The justices did not rule on the abortion issue itself. The battle over abortion policy in HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement has been ongoing since the fall.  

In a joint statement emailed to FierceHealthcare, HHS and the Department of Justice said they are "pleased" with the justices' ruling. 

"The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the federal government is not obligated to help a minor get an abortion and may choose policies favoring life over abortion," the agencies said. "A pregnant minor who is in the country illegally can leave federal custody by returning to her home country, for example, but American taxpayers are not responsible for facilitating her abortion." (Politico)

Bill aims to shift control of National Strategic Stockpile away from CDC

A bill being considered in the House this week would take control of massive warehouses of drugs, medical supplies and vaccines away from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act would shift control of the National Strategic Stockpile to the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Proponents of the bill say that shifting the $547 million stockpile would allow the assistant secretary to better respond to disease outbreaks and other threats since it was created in case of a massive terrorist attack or nuclear war.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is also responsible for ordering the contents of the stockpile, so it makes sense to consolidate them, the bill's authors say. The office did not exist in 1999 when the stockpile was first created. Critics say the stockpile should remain with the CDC which has long-established relationships with local healthcare agencies. (Washington Examiner)

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