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Bi-Partisan Legislation Introduced Would Repeal Controversial Medicare 'Competitive Bidding' Requirements for Home Medical Equipment
Date:3/18/2011

es free access to growing markets, which this program prohibits."

In the Pittsburgh market, which includes all of Altmire's district and part of Thompson's, 58 percent of contracts went to out of state firms with no base of operations in the market.  Shirvinsky noted that this outcome is "not a patient-friendly outcome."

Economists and auction experts have called the program's projected 32 percent savings "unrealistic."  Shirvinsky said, "there is a serious disconnect when an industry that earns a 5 percent return on average takes a 32 percent reduction in reimbursements.  This is simply unsustainable.  Companies need positive cash flow in order to sustain operations.

"In Pittsburgh, we are already seeing layoffs and salary reductions.  Winners and losers alike are living in a state of fear and uncertainty.  We are watching a slow-motion train wreck as revenues dwindle.  Our economy and our Medicare patients deserve better than this."  

"Two months into the program, OUR business is facing incalculable losses.  We don't want to reduce services, we don't want to lay off people and we don't want to close offices," added Blackburn.  

The American Association for Homecare has received hundreds of complaints about the bidding program from beneficiaries, physicians, case managers, and homecare providers.  These complaints are expected to increase exponentially as the program progresses because the payment rates established under this system are unsustainable over the long term.  These payment rates are leading to the provision of lower-quality medical equipment and reduced services associated with home medical equipment.

Blackburn also noted that her company and other compliant providers across the nine bid areas have been "replaced by various companies that do not have the same level of financial stability, purchasing capability or service capability."

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers
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