The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report entitled "Medicare: Lack of Price Transparency May Hamper Hospitals’ Ability to Be Prudent Purchasers of Implantable Medical Devices.”  The report examines: (1) Medicare spending and utilization trends for procedures involving implantable medical devices (IMDs) provided to Medicare beneficiaries from 2004-2009, and (2) what available information shows about the prices hospitals pay for IMDs and any factors particular to the IMD market that influence those prices. The review focused devices used in the 5 IMD-related procedures with the highest spending in 2009: primary total knee implants, primary total hip implants, coronary drug-eluting stents, automated implantable cardioverter defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators. The amounts sampled hospitals reported paying for selected IMDs showed substantial variation, although details needed to accurately compare prices across hospitals (specific model and sale price net of discounts and rebates) were not reported by all respondents for all IMDs in the study. The GAO contends that "lack of price transparency and the substantial variation in amounts hospitals pay for some IMDs raise questions about whether hospitals are achieving the best prices possible. Any excess or unnecessary costs that hospitals incur through IMD pricing may be passed onto the Medicare program." The GAO observes that physician preferences for particular manufacturer’s devices and models may further complicate hospitals’ bargaining power and limit hospitals’ ability to obtain volume discounts from device manufacturers. Other factors that influence IMD prices include the degree of seller competition and a hospital’s market share. In response to the GAO report, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus suggested that it could increase transparency if hospitals that treat Medicare beneficiaries were required to report device pricing information to CMS.