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New Economic Study Exposes Faults in Controversial Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Scheduled to Start this Fall
Date:8/10/2009

an 4,000 providers in the initial bidding areas, only 376 were deemed to have met the bidding program requirements, which were not clearly defined. This "competitive" bidding program, in fact, depresses competition and limits patient access and choice.

Joel Marx, CEO of Medical Service Company in Cleveland, Ohio (a round-one bidding area), said, "If we are fortunate (or unfortunate) to be a winning bidder in this ill-conceived program, we will have a fixed price through 2013, minimal competition, and very few incentives to provide exceptional service. Patients will ultimately bear the burden."

Rob Brant, general manager of City Medical Services in North Miami Beach, Fla. (a round-one bidding area), commented, "Competitive bidding may work for staplers and hammers, but not in a healthcare sector like home medical equipment which is called upon to work with doctors, hospitals and nursing agencies, to properly and safely train, and to provide products and services so patients can live independently in their homes -- and not in facilities like nursing homes."

"Healthcare services for the elderly and disabled cannot and should not be auctioned off to the lowest bidder," said Georgetta Blackburn, vice president of Blackburn's, a home medical provider in Tarentum, Pa. "Quality and access to care will most definitely suffer as the sixty-five and over population skyrockets and the government excludes 90 percent of qualified, accredited, community providers from servicing their patients."

Wilson said, "As designed, this bid program will produce a bureaucratic, anti-competitive price-setting system that will have the unintended consequence of reducing quality of, and access to, care for patients. The result would be similar to a closed-model HMO and will have the effect of government-mandated consolidation in the homecare sector."

The American Association for Homecare represents
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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