CMS, FDA advocate device ID numbers in medical bills and claims

The Food and Drug Administration and CMS are advocating for the use of unique identification numbers in billing records for medical devices, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a letter this week to the Accredited Standards Committee X12, Medicare's acting administrator, Andrew M. Slavitt, along with FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, encouraged the use of the ID number in medical bills and claims, called a unique device identifier, saying the change "would allow for evaluation of product performance and identification of safety concerns for devices at the model level."

They said the change also would help providers and certain payers calculate and compare total costs and outcomes based on the device model used, among other benefits.

The proposal has long been advocated by many lawmakers and officials at the FDA, the report notes.

Proponents of the use of UDIs contend the move is crucial in helping detect malfunctions in devices such as heart defibrillators, blood filters and hip and knee joints, according to The Wall Street Journal.

AdvaMed, a medical device industry group, told the publication it supported the development of UDIs but that using them in billing systems is a "challenging and complex proposition" that needs to be evaluated further to ensure it is practical.

Ultimately, whether the change occurs depends on a decision from the ASC X12, a committee of the medical billing industry. According to the report, that panel is scheduled to make specific recommendations to the industry by December.


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