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Government policy shift prompts Medtronic to bail on bundled knees; Responsive Orthopedics for sale

After three years in the bundled joint replacement business, a federal policy shift is prompting Medtronic to put its Responsive Orthopedics business on the auction block.

The May 2016 acquisition of Minneapolis-based Responsive for an undisclosed amount put Medtronic in line for bundled joint replacement program piloted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The 5-year “Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement” program originally involved more than 800 hospitals in 75 geographic areas, covering the procedures from hospital admission to 90 days after discharge. Soon after the Responsive buyout, Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic rolled out a new Orthopedic Solutions business expressly to take advantage of the CCJR program.

But CMS made the program voluntary in November 2017, prompting participating hospitals to opt out. That shrinking market, combined with the competitive pricing in the joint replacement market, pushed Medtronic into abandoning the field.

“In February 2019, Medtronic announced that it was withdrawing from the orthopedic implant market. This decision was made in response to shifting market dynamics and to focus the business for future growth,” a spokeswoman told , a news and information for the medical device industry.

“Since the company acquired Responsive Orthopedics in 2016, federal guidelines for orthopedic joint replacement have shifted and implant pricing has become highly competitive, making it difficult for Medtronic to offer a disruptive solution. The Responsive Orthopedic knee system remains a high-quality, effective implant that has performed well for the patients who received it. Medtronic is focused on superior product quality, and our orthopedic implants are no exception.” VTN






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Larry Storer

Larry Storer

Larry Storer has been editor of Vein Therapy News for 10 years. He has edited computer, shelter and medical publications at Publications & Communications LP for 30 years. He was also a corporate vice president and editorial director before retiring. Larry graduated from Baylor University with a BA in journalism and an MA in communications; and from Lamar University with a MED in school administration. He taught beginning and advanced reporting, beginning and advanced editing and editorial writing at Baylor University. Larry was a reporter, and city and news editor of the Beaumont Journal, and opinion editor at the Beaumont Enterprise and Beaumont Enterprise-Journal. He was also the founding managing editor of the Yuba City (California) Daily Independent-Herald.