CMS council addresses new technologies

Thursday, September 30, 2004

WASHINGTON - CMS’s new Council on Technology and Innovation (CTI) should help grease the wheels for DME manufacturers trying to obtain coverage for new products and technologies.

The council will bring together senior CMS officials from clinical, coverage and payment areas in order to streamline the current process of getting new products added to coverage policy.

“A better way would be to have all the people who deal with those components talking at the same time and thinking about it in the way the real world thinks about it, which is collectively,” said an industry source.

The current “piece-meal” process places the burden squarely on manufacturers, making them run the gamut from coding to coverage with little interagency cooperation. The CTI, however, brings each of these areas together in addressing the issue.

The council, which replaces the current Medicare Technology Council, will be organized into two working groups. The first group, Effective Innovation, will develop ways to improve the timeliness and efficiency of the coverage, coding and payment processes. It also will explore ways that CMS can better anticipate and accommodate new technologies.

The Better Evidence group will help identify priorities for Medicare-supported clinical research on the effectiveness and cost of new technologies and treatments. It will also develop new study methods for gathering evidence about the risks and benefits of new and existing treatments and equipment.

The CTI, which was mandated by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, will be co-chaired by Herb Kuhn, the director of the Center for Medicare Management, and Sean Tunis, the director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality.