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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 t
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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