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American Association for Homecare Applauds Bill to Delay the Flawed Medicare Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment
Date:6/16/2008

ARLINGTON, Va., June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) applauded congressional efforts to pass a bill introduced last week that will delay for at least 18 months the controversial and flawed Medicare competitive bidding program for home medical equipment and services. The bill, H.R. 6252, is titled the "Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Acquisition Reform Act of 2008."

The competitive acquisition or "competitive bidding" program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) is scheduled to begin on July 1, 2008 in ten metropolitan areas: Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Dallas - Ft. Worth, Texas; Miami, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Riverside, Calif.; and San Juan, P.R. The bidding program applies to oxygen therapy, mail-order diabetic supplies, power wheelchairs, CPAP equipment, hospital beds, and several other categories of durable medical equipment and services used by Medicare beneficiaries in their homes. The program is scheduled to expand to 70 additional areas in the U.S. in 2009.

The reform bill, H.R. 6252, would delay the program for at least 18 months in order to improve the program. The lead cosponsors are House Ways and Means Committee health subcommittee chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and subcommittee ranking member David Camp (R-Mich.). View the text at http://www.aahomecare.org.

According to a press release issued by Congressmen Stark and Camp, the bill would require the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to "improve the program for both beneficiaries and suppliers. The cost of the delay and accompanying reforms is fully paid for within the DME sector by reducing payment rates for covered items by 9.5 percent nationwide starting in 2009, but provides for an additional increase of 2 percent in 2014."

Congressman Stark stated in the release, "I'm pleas
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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