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Study: Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Could Impede Seniors' Access to Diabetes Testing Supplies
Date:6/18/2008

Coalition Aims to Support and Educate Seniors

WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The new Medicare Durable Medical Equipment competitive bidding program that starts July 1 could make it more difficult for seniors to manage their diabetes care, according to a new analysis released today from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

"This analysis shows how the competitive bidding program makes an already vulnerable population even more vulnerable. Medicare must immediately take steps to help seniors with diabetes avoid confusion and ensure that their treatments are not interrupted," said Sara Rosenbaum, the lead author of the study and chair of George Washington University's Department of Health Policy.

The analysis, sponsored by the Diabetes Access to Care Coalition (DACC), examined how Medicare's competitive bidding program for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) could impact how seniors manage their diabetes.

The program is scheduled to begin July 1 in 10 metro areas: Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati, Cleveland; Dallas-Fort Worth, Tex.; Kansas City, Mo.; Miami, Riverside, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Pittsburgh, Pa. and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The competitive bidding program limits the number of mail order suppliers that Medicare beneficiaries in the metro areas can use to obtain their diabetes testing supplies.

"This new Medicare program needs more protections for beneficiaries to ensure that they won't lose access to their diabetes management supplies. As diabetes educators, we know that access to supplies is critical for effective management of this disease. Any disruption in care for seniors with diabetes is simply unacceptable," said Donna Rice, RN, CDE and Past-President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

The Coalition is concerned that competitive bidding for diabetic testing supplies may cause seniors to lose access to th
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SOURCE Diabetes Access to Care Coalition
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