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New Medicare Equipment Bidding Program for Riverside, California Area is Rife with Errors, Says the American Association for Homecare
Date:4/7/2008

Bidding Program Will Put Durable Medical Equipment Providers Out of Business and May Disrupt Services to a Quarter Million Seniors and Disabled People in Southern California

Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, and Visalia Are Next

ARLINGTON, Va., April 7, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Medicare bidding program for durable medical equipment (DME) scheduled to be implemented in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California area on July 1, 2008, will put many DME providers out of business. The program will likely disrupt homecare services for many of the 249,000 seniors and people with disabilities who are eligible for Medicare in the Riverside metropolitan area.

The bidding program is scheduled to hit six other metropolitan statistical areas in California next year, including Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, and Visalia.

In late March, DME providers in the first ten competitive bidding regions received letters from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) explaining whether they had been offered a contract, been disqualified from bidding, or bid outside of the bidding range for a product. Those DME providers that did not receive contracts for a given Medicare item or service are shut out of the Medicare program for three years.

The American Association for Homecare has received word from hundreds of DME providers who say they have been improperly disqualified and thereby removed by CMS from the bidding process. That includes more than a dozen cases of disqualified bidders in the Riverside and San Bernardino areas.

The congressionally mandated competitive bidding program was designed to reduce the number of DME providers and reduce reimbursement rates for oxygen therapy, hospital beds, wheelchairs, and other types of home-based equipment and care in Medicare. Reimbursement rates are already set by Medi
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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