Q&A with Robert Jensen, President and CEO of AAMI

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Q&A with Robert Jensen, President and CEO of AAMI

Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | May 08, 2018
From the May 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: With the differences you indicated between the standards group being about 80 percent at or beyond the midpoints of their careers and education being about 60 percent, why do you think there’s that much interest in the standards as opposed to the education side from the senior members of AAMI?

RJ: In the standards world, organizations are sending senior representatives to these meetings because standards impact their industry fairly deeply, and they want to be at the table to ensure that they’re on a level playing field with those they compete against. The other groups just tend to be younger because it’s a more balanced set of opportunities across the whole space and career lifespan. We have health care technology managers who are young and immediately out of their trade school or four-year college, and are just taking their first job. There are also managers who have been doing this for most of their lives and have worked their way all the way up through a variety of positions, which is what I would say is more a normative course for employment.

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As technology is changing rapidly, so is the opportunity space. Those folks in those positions are being asked to do more to show that they’re not just a break/fix shop for devices. They’re also providing input for capital purchases of devices, and they’re being asked to look at potential insourcing or outsourcing of the maintenance during the acquisition phase. Finally, they’re being asked to do more to support the value proposition of the overall clinical delivery organization.

HCB News: The medical device tax, introduced to supplement the cost of the ACA, was suspended in 2015, reinstated earlier this year and again suspended in January for at least two years. Although it has been critiqued as a thorn in the industry’s side, during the time it was in effect, profits at the 100 largest medical technology companies continued to grow at an average of 7 percent. How damaging do you feel that tax is to the industry and how important is it to have it fully repealed?

RJ: I think it’s important for me to say that I don’t have a close look at medical device company books or how that two percent tax directly affects their bottom line. However, with the recent changes to the ACA and some clear softening to the intent of that particular legislation, I think any reintroduction of that tax should be very carefully thought through, and it should be clear what those funds would be going toward. I think that the medical device industry is exceptionally supportive of health care as a whole, but if they get taxed, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be told what that money will be used for. I think it’s reasonable to ask that it’s tied to the industry that’s asked to provide that kind of resource.

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