12 provider groups call on CMS to add unique device identifiers to Medicare forms

Intermountain and Geisinger -- among others -- are joining similar calls to action by OIG and Congress for CMS to finally add UDI to claim forms to better identify faulty medical devices.
By Jessica Davis
12:29 PM
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CMS to add unique device identifiers to Medicare

Twelve provider groups -- including Intermountain Healthcare, Geisinger and the American Medical Group Association -- are calling on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to add unique device identifiers to Medicare claims forms.

The groups are writing to CMS’ recent response that it’s still reviewing the value of adding UDI to the forms. The letter follows a similar reaction from Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, sent to Verma last week. The senators demanded that Verma make her decision by Dec. 1.

[Also: Senators give CMS deadline to decide its stance on unique device identifiers]

Wednesday’s letter refers to the recent Office of the Inspector General report that found failure and recall of just seven devices cost CMS $1.5 billion in follow-up care, and Medicare beneficiaries paid an additional $140 million in out-of-pocket expenses.

The groups argue that given the limited scope of the OIG report, the actual amount faulty devices are costing CMS is much higher.

The OIG and Congress have both recommended adding UDI to claim forms, but CMS has continued to waffle on its response. Their recommendations also mirror those held by physicians, hospitals and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission -- among a long list of others.

[Also: Warren to CMS: Medical device identifier requirements should be a 'no-brainer']

“As healthcare provider organizations, we believe the benefits of adding device identifiers to claims of improved patient safety and reduced costs far outweigh any limited additional effort required,” the groups wrote.

In fact, the groups assert that once UDI is added, “transmitting that information electronically to claims is straightforward as research has shown.”

“The primary effort required to document device identifiers will occur regardless of their inclusion in claims,” they continued. “As healthcare organizations will already be making that effort, they should experience as many benefits as possible, which can only happen through the inclusion…”

The groups also state that they only really need the UDI information to research the product using analysis, so the rest of the product information in claim forms isn’t needed.

“We don’t believe this would introduce an undue burden,” the groups wrote.

UDI on claim forms has been top-of-mind for Sens. Warren and Grassley in recent months. Warren took CMS to task during a Senate HELP committee in Oct.: “This should be a no-brainer.”

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com