TEXAS — An increasing number of patients and their doctors are seeking alternatives to traditional blood pressure cuff devices, prompting the Texas Medical Board to propose a rule change to make them cheaper.
The move comes as state regulators look at new measures designed to curb medical device prices, including a bill that would require doctors to seek patients’ consent before ordering a device.
The Texas Medical Device Safety Board is recommending that doctors and hospitals with more than 10 hospitals submit their products for review by the agency to determine whether they meet the current state law requiring doctors to obtain a patient’s consent before administering a medical device.
That would include devices such as pressure cuff and pressure cuff pressure monitoring devices.
Under the proposal, doctors and other medical professionals would be required to seek approval from patients before using an approved device.
Patients would be able to opt out of the review process.
The board also wants to require a review of any device that does not meet the existing state standard of a device with a maximum diameter of at least 3 inches.
Patient advocates say such a requirement is necessary to keep devices out of pharmacies.
Doctors would still be required by the law to obtain consent from patients, but they could opt out if they want to do so.
Doctors would also be prohibited from prescribing devices that are not medically necessary.
The board also proposed that doctors be required under state law to use a physician-prescribed device for all patients with cardiac arrest.
It’s a response to a spate of reports of heart attack and stroke in Texas, the most populous state in the country, that have spurred lawmakers to act.
The state last year raised its cap on how much patients can have on hand for a device in an emergency room to $20,000.
It also has banned some high-tech drugs, including those made by companies such as Apotex.
The hospital industry is also trying to push for greater regulation, saying that the current rules are overly restrictive and cause unnecessary delays in patients’ care.
Hospitals are often the first to arrive to emergency rooms when a patient is injured or sick, and they have little time to assess their patient before the doctor orders an intervention.
A new bill proposed by Rep. Randy Neuenschwander, R-Laredo, would eliminate the requirement for a patient to give consent to the device in a patient-centric approach.
That measure has been stalled in the Legislature, however.