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136 Members of Congress Demand that Medicare Release Key Information about Controversial Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment
Date:8/24/2010

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A bipartisan group of 136 members of Congress recently requested that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) disclose the list of homecare providers whose bids were used to calculate home medical equipment reimbursement rates under the Medicare "competitive" bidding program. See letter at www.aahomecare.org.

"Without knowing the identity, as well as the appropriate overall qualifications of these providers, we cannot evaluate the program's impact in terms of quality and access to care for seniors we represent," states the congressional letter to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, M.D.

While CMS intends to release this information in the fall after contracts are finalized, members of Congress are calling on CMS to share this information now to make sure that the disastrous mistakes of the 2008 Round One of bidding are avoided and to uphold President Obama's pledge of "transparency and open government."  

"We want to ensure that qualified providers have been chosen to provide these items and services to our constituents," said the congressional letter to CMS.  "The healthcare community will again have very serious problems if it turns out once more that these companies are unable to provide sufficient access to quality items and services or do not have the financial ability to operate under the new contracted rates."

When CMS held its Round One bid for home medical equipment in 2008, Congress halted implementation and called for a re-bid of the program after numerous problems emerged. For example, under the Round One bidding in 2008, Medicare contracts were granted to providers that were not appropriately licensed and lacked experience with the devices for which they were awarded contracts.

The American Association for Homecare, which represents durable medical equipment providers, is encouraged by the Hou
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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