CMS effort to relax medtech maintenance raises eyebrows

July 23, 2013 by Arezu Sarvestani

Medical trade associations sound the alarm as the CMS begins considering less stringent rules for maintenance of hospital equipment.

hospital imaging equipment

Healthcare trade groups are pushing back against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, asking the federal healthcare agency to reconsider policies that would relax maintenance protocols for certain hospital-based medical devices.

CMS has yet to issue a proposal, but has begun gathering string on a potential policy-change for hospital imaging technology and radiation therapy systems, The Hill reported. Word is that the new proposal would require less testing and fewer inspections than what is generally recommended by equipment manufacturers.

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Groups such as the Society for Vascular Ultrasound warned that lowered standards for hospital equipment maintenance may weaken safety requirements, allowing hospitals to skip manufacturer-recommended maintenance protocols.

"The new standards will weaken the safety requirements that protect Medicare patients by allowing hospitals to forgo the manufacturer’s maintenance standards," according to an SVU letter directed CMS. "The correct use of properly maintained and serviced ultrasound equipment not only saves Medicare dollars, but also ensures appropriate health care and reduces the risks associated with other more expensive or invasive imaging modalities, which may present more significant morbidity and mortality risks."

American College of Cardiology head Harvey Neiman agreed that current guidelines should stay in place, according to The Hill.