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American Association for Homecare Criticizes Release of Controversial Medicare Bidding Rule in Final Hours of Bush Administration
Date:1/15/2009

slowest-growing portion of Medicare spending, increasing only 0.75 percent per year according to the January-February 2009 issue of Health Affairs. That compares to more than 6 percent annual growth for Medicare spending overall. Home medical equipment represents about 1.6 percent of the Medicare budget.

The Bidding Program Will Lower Quality & Access to Care for Seniors & Disabled

This program would allow the government to selectively contract with only a restricted group of providers, based solely and exclusively on lowest-cost, forcing out providers who utilize high-quality equipment or provide critical patient services. It would have negative impacts, including:

-- Longer, more costly hospital stays since hospitals could no longer choose to use a single homecare provider to equip patients returning home, but instead would have to contact as many as 10 different providers for basic items needed by patients.

-- Lower-quality less durable medical equipment made as cheaply as possible.

-- Fewer home visits in rural areas where providers can travel an hour plus to reach the patient.

-- Less access to 24-hour equipment service for patients who depend on oxygen to breathe. Without this service, patients will dial 911 when problems arise.

-- Reduced access to commonly prescribed products. For example, the bidding initiative discourages use of the most commonly prescribed testing strips for diabetes patients.

-- Reduced access to diabetes patient call centers, which answer key medical questions.

-- Fewer resources to properly set up and adjust wheelchairs, walkers, and hospital beds.

-- Restricted ability to properly repair home medical equipment items in a timely manner.

Program Is Actually Anti-Competitive

This controversial bidding
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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