Stephen Ubl became president and CEO in 2005 of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, a 270-member group representing manufacturers of medical devices, diagnostic products and medical information systems. Ubl joined AdvaMed in 1998 as executive vice president of federal government relations. He previously served as vice president of legislation for the Federation of American Hospitals and worked as an aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). As a lobbyist, Ubl has led efforts to change the Food and Drug Administration product-review process and Medicare's coverage and reimbursement of medical technologies. Modern Healthcare reporter Sabriya Rice recently spoke with Ubl about the potential impact of new payment models, as well as regulatory and tax issues, on the $110 billion device industry. This is an edited transcript.
Modern Healthcare: What are the safeguards AdvaMed believes are needed to protect innovation as the use of value-based payment models grows?
Stephen Ubl: We support the movement away from fee-for-service toward models that reward providers for quality rather than volume. We believe medical technology will be a key contributor to the success of those models, enabling providers to better manage patients with chronic conditions. But the metrics aimed at reducing costs are strong and the quality standards are pretty weak. If a provider is trying to keep their costs below a financial benchmark based on historical costs, there could be a disincentive for adopting a new technology that may increase costs in the short term but decrease cost in the long term.
So we have advocated for transitional mechanisms to create room for new technologies, not unlike new technology add-on payments in the hospital inpatient setting. The transitional mechanism might last for two to three years, after which that benchmark can be recalibrated to reflect the new technology. We want to make sure as these new treatment paradigms evolve that we don't have unintended consequences, such as skimping on care.