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Keeping pace with a new year for health care

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | January 01, 2013
From the January 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

I'm not sure if it's just me, but it seems really difficult to keep up with what's going on in Washington these days. Not only have President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner been back and forth for the past few months on a deal to bring down the national debt and keep from plunging over the "fiscal cliff," but health care reform is inching forward toward full implementation in 2014 - just one year away. While many might argue that health care reform deserves the spotlight, I'm wondering how good of a job we're doing as journalists covering the legislations and regulation that will impact medical imaging - outside of what's included in the Affordable Care Act. There's certainly a lot going on there too. I was recently reminded of this when I received an e-mail from a colleague asking if I knew anything about a $2,575 annual registration fee all medical device companies are required to pay, starting fiscal year 2013. Initially, I thought this must be part of the medical device tax - the 2.3 percent tax device companies are being asked to pay to help finance health care reform. But after a quick Google search, I landed on the FDA's Website. The FDA Safety and Innovation Act that President Obama signed into law this summer, which DOTmed News did write about on the day it was signed (see http://www.dotmed. com/news/story/19095/), includes new fees and payment procedures for medical device manufacturers. After making some calls and looking into the policy further, I learned that the legislation could have an impact on resellers and small manufacturers - especially if the trend in increasing application and renewal fees continues going forward, which it is likely to happen.

More than ever, I'm hyper-aware of the job I have to inform you about what's going on in your industry. There's a lot to keep up with, and I encourage you, our readers, to help us at DOTmed News do a better job by letting us know about any issues we should be investigating. While we'll continue our coverage of important topics like the medical device tax, new Medicare coverage decisions and much more in our online news section, I will also be writing a column called the Washington Update that I hope will drive home what you need to know about important policy decisions. Look for it online starting this month.

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