Baltimore Sun/Reuters, December 5, 2011

When U.S. hospitals cut expenses as the economy slid into recession, they looked first to basic supplies like light bulbs and bandages. Next on the list: artificial hips and knees. Implantable devices make up a sizable chunk of typical hospital budgets, and administrators are devising new ways to limit that cost as they brace for cuts to government reimbursement and treat more patients who can't pay for care. That means methodically working through each category of device, from heart valve replacements and stents to spinal products, to see where they can negotiate lower prices. It also means creating databases of shared information on pricing between hospitals.

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