The Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA) opposes the Medical Device Competition Act of 2004 (S. 2880), as introduced by Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. This legislation is counterproductive to the shared priorities of the Senators and the industry of ensuring healthcare providers access to the best products at the best price.
The public policy goals outlined in S. 2880 are the same founding principles of healthcare purchasing organizations -- encouraging competition and innovation in the hospital supply and medical device markets, and reducing the cost of healthcare as a result of aggregating buying power. However, legislation is the wrong avenue to pursue these goals.
HIGPAs Code of Conduct, adopted in 2002, is working and emphasizes the group purchasing industrys commitment to improving health care and advancing technological innovation at the most manageable costs to providers of care and their patients. HIGPAs Code focuses on several areas:
-- Promoting competition and innovation;
-- Eliminating the potential for conflicts of interests;
The healthcare purchasing industry continues to engage in vigorous examinations of ways to improve and strengthen our certification and compliance process. HIGPA does this because we strongly believe private sector compliance programs are the most efficient and effective way to advance best practices in hospital supply purchasing. Ultimately, such compliance programs strengthen our healthcare system.
Hospitals and healthcare providers are the real test of the seriousness of the industrys Code and accompanying compliance program. If the GPOs provider members are unhappy with the way their contracting agent is operating they can freely switch to a different GPO or purchase on their own.
As always, HIGPA is committed to working with Senators DeWine and Kohl and others in Congress. HIGPA looks forward to continuing our discussions on non-legislative solutions that might lead to possible enhancements to the HIGPA Code of Conduct and/or ways we might strengthen the Codes enforcement.
HIGPA is a chartered trade association of over 160 healthcare purchasing and supply chain organizations.