By Keri Forsythe-Stephens

It pays, it seems, to speak out. In mid-January, the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, in conjunction with the Medical Device Manufacturers Association and the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), wrote an open letter to Congress imploring lawmakers to halt the 2.3% medical device excise tax—which was reinstated on January 1 after a two-year hiatus.

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

“Since its enactment [in 2013 as part of the Affordable Care Act and suspension in late 2015], the medical device tax has had a significant and negative impact on medical innovation, resulting in the loss of jobs, reduced R&D, and slowed capital expansion,” the medical device coalition wrote to Congress. In fact, they pointed out, U.S. Department of Commerce data showed that the medical device sector lost roughly 29,000 jobs while the tax was in effect.

Fortunately for medical device makers, the tax was short-lived. After the federal government reopened on January 22 following a three-day shutdown, lawmakers approved a two-year suspension of the device tax—a victory, device makers say, for the entire medical equipment sector.

“This suspension is good news for American patients and American innovation,” AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker said in a statement. “Congress’ action—just days before medical technology innovators were set to start cutting checks to the IRS [on January 29]—means funds will not be diverted from current investments in jobs, capital improvements, and research into new treatments and cures.”

Promoting medical device innovation is also a key subject in the February issue of 24×7 Magazine. In February’s feature article, “Innovation Ahead,” Watershed Idea Foundry CEO Nick Cordaro discusses overcoming the main obstacles to medical device advancement. Chief among them, Cordaro says, are insurance reimbursement issues and good ideas lacking management support and funding.

Not that medical device innovation is an impossible pursuit—which is a good thing, Cordaro says, “since it ultimately brings value and prosperity to all lives.”

24×7 Magazine is also committed to highlighting individuals and departments who have positively impacted patient care—something February’s issue perfectly illustrates. In the latest installment of “A Day in the Life,” we interview several members of Southeastern Michigan-based Beaumont Health’s biomedical engineering team and ask them to divulge department best practices and patient care victories. We also pick their brains about the importance of continuing education/training in HTM.

Now, we’re looking for more hospital departments to profile. If you would like us to feature your HTM department in an upcoming “A Day in the Life” column, please e-mail me at [email protected], and let me know why your department stands out.

Keri Forsythe-Stephens is chief editor of 24×7 Magazine