Some of the headlines from the last week in healthcare


Distributor News: Cardinal Health invests in Intralign

Cardinal Health Inc (Dublin, OH) is providing funding to Intralign (Scottsdale, AZ) to contribute to the expansion of intra-operative management solutions for hospitals. Intralign offers surgical assistance in combination with analytics and process design services to help providers optimize quality and cost of major joint replacement and other surgeries. Through its intra-operative clinical support services, Intralign makes high-quality Surgical First Assistants (SFAs) available in the operating room, eliminating the need for hospitals to have SFAs on staff, reducing procedure time, and ensuring efficient use of resources before, during and after surgery.


CMS delays hospital payment rule

CMS (Baltimore, MD) announced it will delay publishing the final rule for Medicare’s calendar year 2014 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) due to the 16-day government shutdown. The new release date will be November 27, 2013 and will go into effect January 1, 2014. The imaging industry is opposed to the new rules because they use separate cost centers to calculate reimbursement for CT and MR. According to the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) (Arlington, VA), it would, effectively, “pay hospitals nearly the same rate for advanced CT imaging as it would for X-ray.” The delay will also affect the physician fee schedule, home health PPS, and end-stage renal disease.


FDA details strategic plan to avoid drug shortages

The FDA (Silver Spring, MD) released a strategic plan for preventing drug shortages and proposed a rule to require drug and biotechnology companies to “promptly” notify it of potential disruptions to the supply of medically important drugs. Between 2005 and 2011, the number of new shortages quadrupled to 251. The proposed rule would extend this early notification requirement to include makers of biologic drugs, which are typically complex products made from living organisms. The FDA recommended that companies design programs to ensure supply is available in the event of a shortage, build up inventory before major manufacturing changes, and communicate with contract manufacturers to anticipate problems. It cannot require companies to build in extra manufacturing capacity to guard against shortages, or order a company to make a product if it is not profitable.


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