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American Association for Homecare Backs Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate Medicare Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment
Date:10/20/2009

s just days before the scheduled start-up of the bidding process for the bid program for home medical equipment. The Medicare bidding process will begin on October 21 in nine metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) across the U.S. - Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Riverside, Calif. The bid prices and bid winners would be selected in 2010 and the new prices would become effective January 1, 2011. Another round of bidding would begin shortly after that in 100 MSAs across the U.S.

"We recognize the need to control costs in Medicare. However, the home medical equipment sector has seen far more than its share of reimbursement cuts over the past 10 years," said Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare. "This bidding program is designed to selectively contract with a small fraction of the nation's home medical equipment providers and put the vast majority of them out of business even if they agree to new, lower reimbursement rates. That's not good for the seniors and people with disabilities who depend on quality home medical equipment and services in order to remain independent."

Categories subject to the bid program include medical oxygen, which is a highly regulated prescription drug, complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs, enteral nutrients (used in tube feeding), and hospital beds, among other categories.

"A strong community of home medical equipment providers across the U.S. will help keep seniors at home instead of going into nursing homes and help move them out of hospitals for post-acute care more quickly," Wilson said. "In short, home-based care is part of the solution to the nation's healthcare problem."

K. Eric Larson, executive director of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, said, "A 'competitive' bidding program that relies solely on the price of a winning bid simply cannot guarantee quality of, and access to th
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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