GAO Finds Big Disparities In Prices Of Some Medical Devices
News outlets examine a variety of health workplace issues, including a GAO report on medical device prices and efforts to get health workers vaccinated for the flu.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Secrecy On Medical-Device Prices Hurts Buyers, GAO Says
Hospitals are paying widely varying prices for the same implantable medical devices, according to a new study that suggests that secretive sales agreements prevent many buyers from getting the best deals. The report from the U.S. General Accounting Office -- which turned up a difference of more than $8,000 for one cardiac device alone -- found that confidentiality clauses in sales contracts keep even the physicians who decide which devices to use in the dark about prices (Walsh, 2/11).
Modern Healthcare: Panel Suggests Health-Worker Vaccine Mandate
HHS' National Vaccine Advisory Committee approved a recommendation that health care employers that haven't achieved 90 percent influenza vaccination compliance after following other recommendations to boost flu vaccination rates "strongly consider" an employee requirement for flu vaccination (Barr, 2/10).
Also, the Miami Herald looks at a development in heart surgery.
The Miami Herald: Doctors Fixing Heart Valves Without Surgery
Heart surgery was once the only remedy for heart valve disease, but new procedures are being used or tested in South Florida that may provide options, particularly for ailing patients who are at high risk for surgery. … As people get older, the aortic valve, which is tissue-paper thin, may start to get calcified, fibrotic and narrowed, and may start wearing out, he said. About 20 percent of people over age 75 have a problem with their aortic valve, and by age 80, almost one out of three people have problems. In the United States, there are 100,000 open-heart surgeries per year to replace the aortic valve, O'Neill said (Cordle, 2/12).