Navigation Links
Homecare Associations Nationwide Urge Policymakers to Rescind Controversial Medicare 'Competitive' Bidding Rule
Date:4/13/2009

Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment and Services Is Anti-Competitive and Harmful to Patients and Seniors

ARLINGTON, Va., April 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter sent today, the American Association for Homecare and 27 regional and state homecare associations urged the White House Office of Health Reform and the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to review and rescind the controversial CMS "competitive" bidding rule before it is implemented on April 18, 2009. The rule was issued in the waning hours of the Bush Administration.

This bidding program will lower quality and reduce access to care for seniors and people with disabilities. As currently designed, the program is actually anti-competitive and the structure bears no resemblance to earlier demonstration programs in Florida and Texas in 1997 and 1998. In fact, the current version of the bidding program will put at least 90 percent of providers -- many of which are small businesses -- out of work.

The letter was addressed to Mr. Charles Johnson, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Ms. Charlene Frizzera, Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and Ms. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director, White House Office of Health Reform.

"This is not the solution to Medicare's reform and it is certainly not the answer for patients and seniors," said Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare. "This flawed regulation would wipe out small businesses across America and reduce quality and access to care for seniors and the disabled."

The bidding program would selectively contract with a small group of homecare providers, forcing out providers who use high-quality homecare equipment or provide critical patient services. The quality of, and access to, care for patients will be threatened due to forced cutbacks in homecare services -- cutbacks that will also increase the length and cost of hospital stays as the number of home medical equipment providers shrinks.

Home medical equipment and care is already the most cost-effective, slowest-growing portion of Medicare spending, increasing only 0.75 percent per year according to most recent National Health Expenditures data. That compares to more than 6 percent annual growth for Medicare spending overall. Home medical equipment represents only 1.6 percent of the Medicare budget.

Please find the full text of the letter below:

April 13, 2009

    Mr. Charles Johnson, Acting Secretary
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, DC   20201

    Ms. Charlene Frizzera, Acting Administrator
    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, DC   20201

    Ms. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director
    White House Office of Health Reform
    The White House
    Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Acting Secretary Johnson, Acting Administrator Frizzera, and Ms. DeParle:

The American Association for Homecare and the 27 regional and state associations listed below, which represent providers of durable medical equipment (DME) and services, urge you to rescind the CMS competitive bidding rule published during the last hours of the Bush administration. The rule, which would re-implement Round One of the bidding program in the DME sector of Medicare, would reduce access to care and put thousands of DME providers out of business, eliminating jobs at a time when the federal government is trying to preserve them. The rule does not address the fundamental problems of the program that came to light during its brief implementation last year.

Because of flaws in the bidding program, Congress voted to reform and delay the program as part of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), enacted on July 15, 2008. CMS published an interim final rule on the bidding program on January 16, 2009, and that rule will be implemented on April 18, 2009, unless it is rescinded.

MIPPA addressed several near-term concerns with the program, but thoughtful and deliberate rulemaking by CMS was clearly expected by Congress, given the overwhelming level of congressional and stakeholder concern during initial implementation. The intent behind the MIPPA provisions on bidding was for CMS to correct the fundamental flaws of Round One of bidding, allowing for feedback from stakeholders through a comment period before CMS issued a final rule. This process did not take place and the flaws in the bidding program remain.

As currently designed, this bidding program will lower quality and reduce access to care for seniors and people with disabilities. Moreover, it will reduce competition, eliminating up to 90 percent of home medical equipment businesses in any market area where it is implemented. Many of these practices are small businesses already struggling under the current economic recession.

This bidding program allows the government to selectively contract with only a small fraction of current homecare providers, forcing out DME companies that provide high-quality equipment or provide critical patient services. Competitive bidding, which would ultimately drive national reimbursement rates, ignores the critical role of services required to provide care to people in their homes. It will result in fewer resources for service-related activities that patients and physicians have come to expect, which allow people to remain in their homes. The program does not adequately account for providers' ability to serve a geographic market. The program will produce a bureaucratic, anti-competitive price-setting system that would be similar to a closed-model HMO and would have the effect of government-mandated consolidation in the homecare sector.

This is not the solution to Medicare's reform -- and it is certainly not the answer for patients and seniors.

The current structure of the competitive bidding program bears no resemblance to earlier demonstrations. Unlike the 1997-98 demonstrations in Florida and Texas, the current version of the bidding program will put at least 90 percent of providers out of business and will harm Medicare beneficiaries' access to quality home medical equipment and services.

While proponents of this bidding program argue that it will reduce Medicare spending, the inevitable cutbacks in services will result in increased length and cost of hospital stays. Reducing access to quality home medical equipment and services will give many seniors no choice other than to leave their homes for nursing homes or hospitals. The equipment and service for medical oxygen therapy, for example, cost about $8 per day. This is far cheaper than an average daily cost of about $200 for a nursing facility and $5,000 for a hospital stay.

Home medical equipment and care is already the most cost-effective, slowest-growing portion of Medicare spending, increasing only 0.75 percent per year according to the most recent National Health Expenditures data. That compares to more than 6 percent annual growth for Medicare spending overall. DME represents only 1.6 percent of the Medicare budget.

Proponents of the bidding program have also claimed that it will reduce fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, confusing the price-setting mechanism with effective anti-fraud measures. However, long-overdue accreditation requirements for DME finally take effect this year, and surety bond requirements for DME also take effect this year. On top of that, the American Association for Homecare has presented to Congress a far more aggressive and comprehensive 13-point anti-fraud plan, which lays out tough, effective measures to stop waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare's DME sector.

In summary, we believe that CMS should immediately withdraw the interim final rule for competitive bidding and identify the problem areas that led to the delay of Round One of the program. CMS should issue a proposed rule that solicits public comments on the implementation of MIPPA and other modifications and improvements to the program. Specifically, CMS should convene the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee immediately.

We support efforts to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. To that end, we urge you to review and rescind the flawed "competitive" bidding regulations because of the far-reaching negative impact it will have on patients and businesses nationwide. If you have more questions regarding our views on this issue, please contact me at (703) 836-6263.

Sincerely,

Tyler J. Wilson

President, American Association for Homecare

    Alabama Durable Medical Equipment Association
    Arizona Medical Equipment Suppliers Association
    Association of Indiana Home Medical Equipment Services
    Big Sky Montana & Idaho Association of Home Medical
     Equipment Suppliers
    California Association of Medical Product Suppliers
    Colorado Association of Medical Equipment Services
    Florida Association for Medical Equipment Services
    Georgia Association of Medical Equipment Services
    Illinois Association for Medical Equipment Services
    Jersey Association of Medical Equipment Services (New Jersey)
    Kentucky Medical Equipment Suppliers Association
    Maryland National Capital Homecare Association
    Medical Equipment Suppliers Association
       (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico)
    Michigan Home Health Association
    Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services
      (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota,
      South Dakota)
    Mississippi Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers
    Nevada Association of Medical Products Suppliers
    New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association
      (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
      Rhode Island, Vermont)
    New York State Medical Equipment Providers Association
    North Carolina Association for Medical Equipment Services
    Ohio Association of Medical Equipment Services
    Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers
    South Carolina Medical Equipment Services Association
    Tennessee Association for Home Care
    Utah Medical Equipment Dealers
    Virginia Association of Durable Medical Equipment Companies
    West Virginia Medical Equipment Suppliers Association

CONTACTS: Michael Reinemer, 703-535-1881, michaelr@aahomecare.org or Tilly Gambill, 703-535-1896, tillyg@aahomecare.org.

The American Association for Homecare represents durable medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and other organizations in the homecare community. Members serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen equipment and therapy, mobility assistive technologies, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, home infusion, and other medical equipment and services in their homes. The Association's members operate more than 3,000 homecare locations in all 50 states. Visit www.aahomecare.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE American Association for Homecare
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. American Association for Homecare Applauds President Obamas Plan to Aid Small Businesses
2. VNA HealthCare Selects Allscripts Homecare
3. American Association for Homecare Supports President Obama in His Commitment to Stop Waste, Fraud and Abuse in Medicare
4. Rallies in Five Cities Planned on Friday the 13th to Protect CA Families From the Bad Budget Deal and Permanent, Deep Cuts to Homecare, Education, and Other Vital Services
5. American Association for Homecare Proposes to Congress a Medicare Anti-Fraud Action Plan that Includes Increased Penalties, Site Inspection, and Tough Standards
6. Pet Dental Health Campaign Urges Pet Owners Not to Brush off Dental Homecare
7. Home Delivery Medical Transforms Customer Service On the Web for Seniors and Homecare Providers
8. American Association for Homecare Criticizes Release of Controversial Medicare Bidding Rule in Final Hours of Bush Administration
9. Critical Homecare Solutions Holdings, Inc. to Present at the 20th Annual Piper Jaffray Health Care Conference
10. American Association for Homecare Proposes Aggressive 13-Point Plan to Stop Medicare Fraud and Recoup Billions; Calls Steps Essential to Medicares Health
11. MBF Healthcare Acquisition Corp. Amends Stock Purchase Agreement With Critical Homecare Solutions Holdings, Inc. to Extend Termination Date to October 31, 2008
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... More than 20,000 pairs of ... Congo (DRC) thanks to an ambitious venture that conjoined the passions of an NBA ... support of the Liberty community. These shoes will save lives from the rampant infections ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... Mediaplanet today announces the launch ... lifestyles and highlighting the importance of proactive eye and ear health. The campaign ... latest innovations in hearing aid technology. , In this issue, the National ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... , ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... handling handheld devices. Through an educational webinar, they will present the line of ... chance to learn how easy you can automate everyday pipetting tasks. , Ideal ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Radabaugh & Associates, a family managed agency ... West Virginia, is embarking on a cooperative charity effort with the Chestnut Mountain ... Chestnut Mountain Ranch (CMR) is a Christ-centered boarding school for young men offering ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... The Brian Gifford Agency, an ... is campaigning in support of Campagna Academy in a charity drive to provide for ... Boys’ Town of Indiana,” Campagna Academy is a nonprofit organization that has offered critical ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... AccuGenomics, Inc., a diagnostic company based in ... the company has provided an AccuKit to the HIV ... Chapel Hill and to Qura Therapeutics for evaluation in ... HIV reservoir and viral expression in human CD4+ T ... Center is a joint initiative between the University of ...
(Date:8/8/2017)... Aug. 8, 2017  BioLineRx Ltd. (NASDAQ/TASE: BLRX), a ... reports its financial results for the second quarter ended ... the second quarter 2017 and to date: ... development programs for the Company,s lead project, BL-8040: ... study with BL-8040 as novel stem cell mobilization treatment ...
(Date:8/7/2017)... 2017  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO), the nation,s largest ... June 30, 2017.  All comparisons, unless otherwise noted, are to ... Second Quarter 2017 Highlights include: ... an increase of 3.5% Total prescriptions dispensed ... of 7.5% versus 7.6% Gross profit ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: