A new committee to improve the process for approving Medicare coverage of emerging technologies and devices is expected to speed up beneficiaries' access to new treatments, CMS Administrator Thomas Scully says.
The Medical Technology Council will work on streamlining policy related to coverage, coding and payment for FDA-approved technologies.
The development, announced Monday, was spurred by a recommendation from HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's advisory committee on regulatory reform.
"This new council will reduce the time needed for making and implementing Medicare coverage decisions for new technologies and making CMS' process as seamless as possible for outside stakeholders," Scully says in a statement.
The main activities of the council, which will meet bi-monthly and as needed, will be to consult with all affected divisions of CMS to facilitate technology coverage issues, develop resolution plans and schedules and clarify responsibilities.
The council may also consider applications for coverage and special payments under inpatient and outpatient technology provisions and work with the FDA to better coordinate the approval processes.
Directors and staff of two CMS offices--the Center for Medicare Management and the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality--will serve on the council.