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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

ay."

Furthermore, Dr. Rajagopalan wrote, "In the past local providers competed for our business on the basis of service, by working with case managers to help us with these sensitive issues. Today the lowest-priced bid method chosen by Medicare is costing the hospital in the form of increased hours required by case managers and juggling multiple bid winners trying to coordinate the discharge of a single patient. If a patient requires a hospital bed, walker, enteral tube feeding, therapeutic ventilation and oxygen, case managers may have to coordinate with five separate bid winners to get the patient home. Before this program, all we had to do was call one provider for all services."

Another physician, Dr. Seth Gottlieb, of Miami, is also upset at the new process. He also wrote a letter to Sen. Martinez, saying, "The competitive bidding program for home medical equipment is only a few days old and it has already caused major delays and problems for my staff and the discharge coordinators at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach."

In his letter, Dr. Gottlieb noted that nine of the oxygen providers that won bids in the area do not have the necessary licenses from the State Department of Health, despite Medicare program requirements that all winning suppliers comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. "Clearly there is a major loophole regarding quality and accreditation in Medicare's oversight of this program," he wrote.

Meanwhile, the daughter of an 82-year-old Sunny Isles Beach, Florida oxygen patient said consequences from the bidding program caused her mother to make an unnecessary visit to a hospital emergency room.

Wilson, of AAHomecare, said that similar situations developing across the country underscore the urgency for overriding a veto from the president. The measure is supported by AAHomecare, as well as the ALS Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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