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Errors Plague Medicare 'Competitive Bidding' Program in Ohio, Says American Association for Homecare
Date:4/4/2008

health care reimbursement, one has to strongly question how this actual concept is currently being rolled out through the DME bidding program," said Kam Yuricich, executive director of the Ohio Association of Medical Equipment Services. "In my two decades of involvement in the home medical equipment industry, this is the most severe and life-threatening issue this small, but vital segment of our nation's health care delivery system has faced. It threatens to unravel respectable organizations that have provided years, sometimes generations, of service to their communities in Ohio."

"At the core of this problem is the public's inability to understand and trust the method for how 'winners' were selected because the Medicare program rules provide no transparency. Even more alarming, since losing these bids can be the death of your business, the rules do not allow for any formal appeal mechanism. Many of Ohio's congressional delegation have been strong allies in helping home medical equipment providers in Cincinnati and Cleveland work through the chaotic phases of the bidding program. Their efforts to protect the recipients and providers of important homecare services are commendable and represent the last line of defense for these small businesses that face serious harm to, or possibly elimination of, their livelihoods."

The DME industry consists primarily of small to medium-sized businesses serving relatively small service areas. The average DME company receives about 50 percent of its business from Medicare patients. Loss of this business will result in layoffs and business failure for many DMEs.

On Tuesday, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt urging that Leavitt postpone further implementation of the competitive bidding program. Brown's letter said the bidding program "is seriously flawed and will undermine beneficiary access and quality of care for the mill
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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