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MANAGED COMPETITION HEALTH CARE PLAN ENDORSED BY HIMA BOARD

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

MANAGED COMPETITION HEALTH CARE PLAN ENDORSED BY HIMA BOARD at a March 28 meeting held during the association's annual meeting in Palm Beach, Florida. The board of the Health Industry Manufacturers Association "came out in favor of managed competition, at least conceptually," HIMA President Alan Magazine reported at a same-day general session. He added that "the real question is what are the details going to look like," pledging that HIMA is "going to work hard to make sure they come out the way we think is appropriate." The HIMA board also endorsed a "standard benefits package based on broad categories of care to accommodate technology improvement," HIMA representative Stuart Eizenstat said at a March 29 hearing of the Clinton Administration's Health Care Task Force. During his speech in Florida, Magazine expressed concern about a benefits package that may exclude some types of technology. Magazine also mentioned several other possible elements of a managed competition health care reform program that HIMA must be prepared to address. For example, health spending caps would limit funds available for technology purposes, and purchaser consolidation could lead to "less duplication of technologies and greater price sensitivity," he said. In addition, purchasers may be "more hesitant to buy technology" as they adjust to a new system. A principal thrust of HIMA's lobbying effort regarding health care reform is to "set the record straight" on the cost of medical devices, Magazine said. "Yes, many technologies are expensive and, when used widely, even low-priced technologies can raise costs. But many, including government, give too little credit to technologies that reduce treatment costs or provide long-term savings." He noted that a recent study sponsored by the Health Care Technology Institute found that average annual price rises for medical equipment have been slightly below the overall inflation rate (see story, p. 6). Incoming HIMA Chairman Edward Hartnett, company group chairman at Johnson & Johnson, said in his March 30 inaugural speech that "managed competition will work best if it places a premium on outcomes research." The medical device industry "can support such a system if it fairly and objectively measures the relationship between technology and cost," Hartnett asserted. In addition to Hartnett, the HIMA officers for 1993 are: Chairman-elect William Zadel, president of Ciba Corning Diagnostics, and Treasurer Lawrence Cohen, chairman, president and CEO of Lumex. Six new board members also were elected to three year terms. They are: Anthony Cook, president of the health care domestic division of PM Company; Eleanor Gackstatter, president and chief operating officer of Meadox Medicals; John Haddock, vice president and general manager of the marketing and engineering division of GE Medical Systems; Thomas MacMahon, president of the diagnostics group of Hoffmann-LaRoche; George Oram, president of Biomatrix; and Robert Strauss, president and CEO of Cordis.

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