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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

can improve the bidding program," said Tyler J. Wilson, President and CEO of AAHomecare. "We hope that Congress will overturn the expected veto from the President. We are facing a potentially dangerous situation in which some of the most vulnerable people in our society are having difficulty getting the medical equipment that they need. Those who are in hospitals are being forced into longer stays in those expensive institutions because equipment can't be obtained in a timely manner to sustain them in their homes. This is a dire situation that must be corrected."

In Florida, at least two frustrated physicians wrote to Sen. Martinez.

On July 2, Dr. Natarajan Rajagopalan, M.D. placed an order for liquid oxygen for a patient on a high liter flow. Such equipment and services, he says, are usually delivered by a licensed respiratory therapist, who reports back to the discharging pulmonologist or critical care physician. "We found that none of the companies we called provide liquid oxygen systems," he said. "I found out that with the goal of finding the lowest bidder, Medicare is now allowing companies to sub-contract specialized oxygen services through un-accredited companies. They are not required to have the equipment set-up by or have the patient educated or evaluated by a respiratory therapist."

In his letter, Dr. Rajagopalan noted that in a separate case, his office manager at a local hospital, placed a call with a bid winner before noon last Thursday for oxygen equipment. She was told that the equipment could be delivered either the next day, or the day after.

"Typically oxygen is delivered to a patient in hours, not days," Dr. Rajagopalan wrote. "That policy will create countless problems for hospitals in the area. We cannot wait days for equipment to be delivered to the hospital or to the patient's home before they are discharged. The hospital needs the patient's room and we are unable to bill Medicare additional days for a hospital st
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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