The financial condition of not-for-profit hospitals will be challenged in the short term by the introduction of drug-eluting stents, Moody's Investors Service said in a new report. Even though Medicare pays higher reimbursement for the new device, the payment likely won't cover the cost of the procedure, the rating agency said. In the long term, the new stents also likely will impact hospital cardiology procedures, reducing the need for repeat angioplasties and ultimately for open-heart surgeries, typically one of a hospital's most profitable service lines. "Any fundamental change in the profitability of a hospital's cardiology program can have a material impact on a hospital's bottom line," said Lisa Martin, Moody's senior vice president. Modern Healthcare explored the financial impact of drug-coated stents in its Oct. 21, 2002, cover story, "Stuck in the middle." The Food and Drug Administration approved drug-coated stents in April. Johnson & Johnson is currently the only vendor. The stent, which releases an inflammation-fighting drug intended to reduce artery reblockage, lists for $3,195 -- about three times as much as the bare metal stent commonly in use. -- by Cinda Becker
Moody's: New stents will challenge hospitals
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