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Florida Physicians Press Sen. Martinez to Support Reform of Medicare Bidding Program after Hospital Discharge Problems Emerge
Date:7/14/2008

Physicians Cited Concerns After Delays in Delivering Equipment, Lack of Trained Clinical Staff

ARLINGTON, Va., July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Florida physicians have written letters to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) citing numerous problems related to the new Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment that was implemented July 1 in Orlando, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, and eight other metropolitan areas in the U.S.

The controversial bidding program has triggered widespread disruptions in service across the country for physicians, hospital discharge planners, home medical equipment providers and Medicare beneficiaries who require oxygen therapy, power wheelchairs, CPAPs, enteral nutrition, diabetic supplies, and other items and services that help them live healthy, independent lives.

The bidding program is also operating in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh, Riverside, Calif., and San Juan, P.R.

Last week, Sen. Martinez joined with 68 Senators to approve the Medicare bill, which includes adjustments for physicians' reimbursement and important improvements to the competitive bidding program. However, the White House has said it will veto the Medicare bill.

Mounting complaints have been made to the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) about the bidding program including:

-- Delays in patients being discharged from hospitals because proper equipment cannot be obtained in a timely manner for their use in their homes;

-- Medicare beneficiaries calling their previous providers frustrated because they cannot find new providers to deliver equipment they need; and

-- Providers making referrals for their previous patients but finding that providers who won bids are unwilling or unable to service the patient needs as required by program rules.

"We are pleased that the Senate joined the House in imposing a moratorium on the program so that critical reforms
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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