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

e care our members need. Home medical equipment providers offer quality items and service to beneficiaries living with paralysis and complex conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injuries who rely on customized mobility equipment, life-dependent oxygen, and other life-preserving medical equipment, service, and care. This bidding program needs to be repealed before the program creates human tragedies across the country."

Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO, United Spinal Association, said, "Congressman Meek and other bipartisan leaders in the House have recognized that wheelchairs and a host of other home medical devices are essential tools which, when properly configured for each individual patient, can liberate a person and maximize their quality of life. Unfortunately, the competitive bidding process will eliminate the home medical equipment provider's ability to individually customize equipment based upon each patient's medical needs and restrict the patient's ability to work face-to-face with a local provider. If implemented, competitive bidding will have tragic, unintended consequences for seniors and people with disabilities."

The initial roll-out of the bidding program in 2008 produced disastrous results for home medical equipment patients and for providers (mostly small businesses) who were excluded from Medicare as a result of the first round of bidding. During the 2008 implementation, serious problems were encountered, such as:

  • Disruption to patient services - Patients were forced to go to multiple, unfamiliar providers for different items and services. Informal surveys showed that some winning providers were unable to provide care to beneficiaries.
  • Greater costs to Medicare due to longer hospital stays - Confusion about the restricted list of contracted home medical providers delayed hospital discharges and triggered unnecessary emergency r
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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