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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

program results in lowest-common-denominator health care for seniors and homecare patients. A program that selectively contracts with a small group of providers to care for seniors based primarily on price is fundamentally flawed. Not only does the program sacrifice the quality of, and access to, care for patients, it has the opposite affect intended: It clears the marketplace of competition by reducing the number of eligible providers. During a trial period of enactment in 2008, of the more than 4,000 providers in the initial bidding areas, only 376 were deemed to have met the bidding program requirements, which were not clearly defined. So 90 percent of the marketplace was closed out of the bidding program, proving that the program depresses competition and limits patient access and choice.

Will Drive Up Medicare Costs When Homecare is Already a Cost-Effective Healthcare Solution

Cutbacks in homecare services will increase the length and cost of hospital stays as the number of home medical equipment providers shrinks. Hospital discharge planners depend on a reliable supply of home medical providers who compete on the basis of quality of service and speed so patients can quickly transition from hospital to home. Long hospital stays increase costs to Medicare and taxpayers. The average Medicare cost for one day in the hospital is more than $5,500 according to the Social Security Administration. It is much cheaper to allow seniors to receive post-acute care at home. For instance, the average Medicare cost for one day of medical oxygen therapy at home to treat COPD is less than $7.

For more information on competitive bidding, please visit: http://blog.aahomecare.org/2009/01/george-wills-column-on-medicare-bidding.html.

The American Association for Homecare represents durable
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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