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Medicare Bidding Program Creates Major Problems for Physicians, Hospitals, and Beneficiaries Seeking Home Medical Equipment
Date:7/8/2008

Physicians Cite Patient Concerns about Delays in Oxygen Orders, Lack of Trained Technicians

ARLINGTON, Va., July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The new Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment has created concern and chaos for beneficiaries, physicians, hospital discharge officials, and home medical equipment providers across the country since it was implemented in 10 metropolitan areas on July 1.

The bidding program has triggered widespread disruptions in service to beneficiaries who require oxygen therapy, power wheelchairs, CPAPs, diabetic supplies, and other items and services that help them live healthy, independent lives. The controversial bidding program is operating in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Riverside, Calif., and San Juan, P.R.

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 patients' needs.

"It's imperative that the Senate move as quickly as possible to impose a moratorium in the program so that critical reforms to the program can occur," said Tyler J. Wilson, President and CEO of AAHomecare. "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
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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