FDAnews Device Daily Bulletin

TO FIGHT RISING COSTS, HOSPITALS SEEK ALLIES IN THE OPERATING ROOM

Nov. 21, 2005
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It is a war on rising hospital costs, being fought one tiny balloon at a time. And as with most wars, some of the tactics are controversial. Until recently, some cardiologists at the PinnacleHealth System hospital group in Pennsylvania would inflate a new artery-opening balloon each time they inserted a stent into a patient's clogged arteries. Now, if they can, these doctors will use a single balloon throughout a patient's procedure. That simple step, which the doctors say poses no additional risk to patients, saves at least a couple of hundred dollars a procedure. And — here lies the controversy — the doctors share in any money they save the hospital. While the new approach gives them a financial incentive to be more cost-conscious, it also fundamentally recasts the traditional arm's-length relationship between a hospital and the doctors who practice there.
The Ledger