In partnership with Allegheny Health Network, Highmark Health and Torax Medical have announced they will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of treating GERD patients with LINX Reflux Management System through Highmark’s new Verification of Innovation by Testing, Analysis and Learning, or VITAL, innovation program.
According to the press release, the VITAL program “is a formal, rapid and competitive review and funding process open to innovators who wish to test new ideas to improve the quality and affordability of care.”
“This collaboration aligns with our mission to be a value-based health provider,” David Holmberg, president and CEO of Highmark Health, said in the press release. “We look forward to working with Torax Medical and other technology developers to harness our payer/provider business model in order to accelerate and deploy innovations that deliver to patients the right care at the right time and cost and in the right setting.”
The LINX (magnetic sphincter augmentation, Torax) procedure is an alternative to fundoplication that entails a minimally invasive laparoscopic implantation of a small device made of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores, which prevents reflux by augmenting the esophageal sphincter’s barrier function, according to the release.
“Torax Medical and physician thought leaders have collaborated for over a decade building a strong scientific foundation of evidence to support the safety and efficacy of the LINX procedure,” Todd Berg, president and CEO of Torax Medical, said in the press release. “Today, we are excited to announce this partnership with Highmark Health that will affirm the cost effectiveness of this procedure. GERD patients who do not respond to medical therapies can create a tremendous cost burden on a health care system and are often at higher risks for complications resulting from not fully treating their disease.”
“The LINX procedure is safe, reproducible and effective, which should translate into reducing the high economic costs of lifelong medical management and complications associated with traditional anti-reflux surgical options,” Blair Jobe, MD, program director and director of the Esophageal & Lung Institute at Allegheny Health, said in the press release.
Disclosures: Berg reports he is an employee of Torax Medical. Holmberg reports he is an employee of Highmark Health. Jobe reports he is an employee of Allegheny Health Network.