Provider alliance Premier Inc., in a letter to House and Senate leaders now writing a compromise health reform bill, strongly supports House-passed language to create a unique device identification system for medical devices.

"UDI is the missing link to protect the safety of patients by improving processes for device recalls and corrections," the Charlotte, N.C.-based organization said in the letter. "Unlike medications, and virtually every other product sold in the marketplace, medical devices cannot be identified in a systematic and consistent manner. The resulting ad hoc approach results in increased clinical risks to patients, including implanting a defective, counterfeit or recalled product, inability to track the recipient of a faulty product (recalls) and inability to track adverse events appropriately."

The letter also covers a range of other issues such as new payment methodologies, accountable care organizations, penalties for hospital-acquired infections, a medical device tax, comparative effectiveness research, provisions to reduce health disparities, a drug purchasing program and a Medicare hospital value-based purchasing program.

--Joseph Goedert

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